sponges text index | photo index
Phylum Porifera
Brown prickly branching sponge
Ircinia sp.*
Family Irciniidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This brown branching sponge with a prickly surface is often seen on coral rubble on some of our Southern shores.

Features: 10-15cm. The sponge may be dome shaped without any protrusions, or have knobs, rounded fingers, lobes or branching (4-10cm) emerging from an encrusting base. Few small holes at the tips of the rounded branches, as well as other parts of the sponge. Surface with tiny bumps, that appears spiky and prickly when the sponge is out of water. Colour usually a uniform brown, also orangey or yellow.

Sometimes, another Iricinia species is seen that is boulder-shaped with a spiky surface that resembles jagged mountains. Dark brown outside, paler brown inside.

Another species that may appear similar is Dactylospongia elegans.

Chek Jawa, Jan 02

Sentosa, Jun 05

Sentosa, Mar 07

Terumbu Pempang Laut, Aug 10

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

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

Brown prickly branching sponges on Singapore shores

Photos of Brown prickly branching sponges for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Terumbu Salu, Jan 10

Pulau Salu, Jun 10

Pulau Senang, Jun 10

Pulau Senang, Jun 10

Terumbu Bukom, Nov 10


  • Irciniidae on SeaLife Base: technical fact sheet.
  • Ircinia on the World Porifera Database


  • 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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