Sea orange (Suberites ficus)
|Researched by||Penny Avant||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||Fig sponge||Synonyms||Suberites domuncula ficus (Johnston, 1842), Ficulina ficus (Johnston, 1842), Hymeniacidon ficus (Johnston, 1842), Hymeniacidon suberea (Montagu, 1814)|
The body form is very variable, typically massively lobed but can be a cushion, massively globular, elongated or encrusting. Size varies between 10-40 cm in diameter and the surface looks smooth but is slightly rough to touch. The colour is usually orange or intermediate shades of yellow, brown and orange but has also been reported as white, grey or green. The pores through which water leaves the body cavity (oscules) are large and typically at the tops of the lobes but may be in other positions.
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandWidely distributed around the British coast.
Global distributionWidespread throughout the Arctic and northeast Atlantic, and found in the north western Mediterranean.
HabitatOccurs on rock and other hard substrata such as wreckage and empty gastropod and scallop shells. Reported to prefer being exposed to tidal currents.
- Growth form is typically massively lobed, but may be a cushion.
- Size up to 40 cm in diameter.
- Colour usually orange or intermediate shades of yellow, brown and orange.
- The surface is smooth but with some friction to touch.
- Large oscules typically at the top of the lobes, but may be in other positions.
- Contracts to 3/4 of its size when removed from water.
- Shape, size and arrangement of spicules is important for identification of the species.
Suberites ficus has been variously reported as being both synonymous with, and a separate species from Suberites domuncula. The name given to these species is still tentative because the specific distinctiveness of Suberites ficus and other named forms needs further study (van Soest et al., 2000).
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Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]
Moss, D., & Ackers, G. (eds.), 1982. The UCS Sponge Guide. Produced by R. Earll. Ross-on-Wye: The Underwater Conservation Society.
Van Soest, R.W.M., Picton, B. & Morrow, C., 2000. Sponges of the North East Atlantic. [CD-ROM] Windows version 1.0. Amsterdam: Biodiversity Center of ETI, Multimedia Interactive Software. [World Biodiversity Database CD-ROM Series.]
Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.
Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01
Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Biological survey of the intertidal chalk reefs between Folkestone Warren and Kingsdown, Kent 2009-2011. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.
Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.
Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset:https://doi.org/10.15468/aru16v accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.
OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-10-05
Outer Hebrides Biological Recording, 2018. Invertebrates (except insects), Outer Hebrides. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/hpavud accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Marine and other Aquatic Invertebrates (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset:https://doi.org/10.15468/zxy1n6 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
This review can be cited as:
Last Updated: 08/05/2008