Sponges can be both diecious or monecies; this means that they can either possess male or female organs, or they could have both in the same organism.  Along with this, sponges can also reproduce sexually and asexually.

Let’s get sexual...
    Sponge sexual reproduction is very simple, and much like that of many other animal organisms.  In sexual reproduction there is a male structure that releases flagellated, motile sperm, and a female structure that, when fertilized, releases a larva.  The larva then floats around in the aquatic environment until it finds an ideal place to attach itself to the substrate.  From then on, the larva will grow via mitosis and soon reach its inevitable goal of becoming another sponge.

Let's get asexual...
    Sponges can go through a variety of processes in asexual reproduction.  Since the individual sponge cells are totipotent, it allows very small amounts of sponge to break off and form a whole new organism.  There is a legend that if you put a sponge in a blender and break up the organism, it will be able to come back together forming an entire sponge again.  Because of the totipotentcy, this is an entirely true myth.
    Sponges can also go through a process called budding.  In times of distress, the sponge can create somewhat of a pod of cells.  These cells can either form a new sponge when there is a more supportive environment or retreat back into the original mother sponge.

Return Back to Top
Continue Onward to Interactions...