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Phylum Porifera
Spiky ball sponge
Dysidea sp.*
Family Dysideidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This spiky ball- or cushion-shaped sponge is commonly seen on rock and rubble on our Northern shores.

8-10cm in diameter, ball- or rounded, cushion shape with lots of large holes. Sometimes also encrusting or with lobes, fingers, or even maze-like walls. The surface is often spiky with a net- or web-like texture. Often with thin membranous lips around large openings in the sponge. Colours in pastel shades ranging from beige, lilac, blue to pale pink and beige, apparently depending on the type of symbiotic bacteria found in the sponge.

When broken, Dysidea species often produce a strong medicinal smell. Dysidea species don't produce their own spicules. Instead, foreign spicules and sand grains are incoporated into the skeleton thus making species identification difficult.

Sometimes, these sponges are draped with synaptid sea cucumbers and brittle stars are sometimes glimpsed deep in the crevices of the sponge.

Pulau Sekudu, May 12

Thin 'lips' around large opening.

Brittle star deep in the crevices.
Chek Jawa, Jun 06

Sometimes draped with synaptid sea cucumbers
Chek Jawa, May 04

Spiky with net-like texture.

Chek Jawa, Jan 02

Pulau Sekudu, Jul 08

Beting Bronok, May 11

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Spiky ball sponges on Singapore shores

Photos Spiky ball sponges for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map



  • Lim Swee Cheng, Nicole de Voogd and Tan Koh Siang. 2008. A Guide to Sponges of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 173pp.
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