sponges text index | photo index
Phylum Porifera
Mustard sponge
Dactylospongia elegans*
Family Thorectidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This encrusting sponge is sometimes seen on coral rubble on our Southern shores.

Thin encrustation with short (2-5cm) finger-like upright branches. Surface rubbery, spiky and prickly when the sponge is out of water. Large holes at the tips of the 'fingers' or widely separated. Colour uniform mustard (yellowish brown).

Sometimes confused with Yellow prickly branching sponges (Pseudoceratina purpurea, Family Pseudoceratinidae) which looks very similar. The two kinds of sponges are difficult to tell apart in the field.

Beting Bemban Besar, May 11.

Pulau Semakau, Mar 11


Out of water.

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

Mustard sponges on Singapore shores

Photos of Mustard 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.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008