back to article KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline

The nearest most of us get to a sponge is when it's sitting on the bathroom shelf, but scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have found four new species of carnivorous sponge that are chomping their way through undersea life off the coast of California. Most sponges filter particles of food from …

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Pirate

Obligatory...

I for one, welcome our absorbent marine overlords.

Let us all bow down and pay obeisance to His Most Holey and Unshellfish Majesty, Spongebob the First!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Obligatory...

And we were wondering: Who could possibly gain from crashing a plane load of snackettes into the deep ocean off Australia?

Just how many of these spongy tentacular chaps are growing all over the fibre optic cables that interconnect the worlds flight planning computers?

Its not paranoia when they are trying to get you...

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@Big John Re: Obligatory...

I notice that they have noodly appendages. There could be room for religious argument here.

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Re: @Big John Obligatory...

"I notice that they have noodly appendages. There could be room for religious argument here."

I get your drift, but there are problems. First, since these spongoids presumably have no muscles, those "appendages" would be better characterized as tendrils. Second and more important, where are the meatballs?

Third, there are a lot of these creatures, but the Noodly One is said to be unique, if very messy. At least that was my understanding...

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Re: @Big John Obligatory...

The meatballs are sticking to the noodly appendages, did you not see them with your own eyes? Mmmm, shrimp. As for uniqueness, each individual one is an aspect of the One. Oh, ye of little faith and understanding.

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Joke

Re: @Big John Obligatory...

NOOO

They are the opposite to the Noodly one! They come from below - the dark side!

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Joke

Re: @Big John Obligatory...

where are the meatballs?

Maybe this prophet and messiah is female?

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Re: @Big John Obligatory...

Jah Spongeafari!

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Angel

Re: @Big John Obligatory... - yes, unique

The Noodly One is indeed One, but are we not seeing the pasta equivalent of Boddhisattvas??

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It's Asbestopluma rickettsi not Asbestopluma rickets (probable autocorrect error).

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asbestos plume of rickets

What a delightful name.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: asbestos plume of rickets

Could easily compete with "correct horse battery staple" for a pass phrase :)

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Happy

Re: asbestos plume of rickets

Could easily compete with "correct horse battery staple" for a pass phrase :)

Indeed, although we use Foul Ole Ron as a source of pass phrases (but NOT "Millennium hand and shrimp").

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Coat

The crustaceans should develop pubic hair and smother those damn sponges just like they do in my bathroom!

Yep. Icon. Collecting it now.

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Happy

I don't wish to know that! Kindly leave the stage.

However it does explain why our friend Billy's ludicrously enormous member is now so much shorter. I'd heard that the girl next door had hit it with a rake, but this turns out not to be the case. I now hear that he retired to the bath with his copy of Playboy - and only a sponge and a rubber duck for company...

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A nasty way to go

> evolved tiny hooks along its body that entrap small crustaceans as they touch the sponge.

> Once they're hooked, the sponge's cells then grow around the unfortunate creature

So the little crabs get caught in the tendrils and are slowly eaten alive. Even for a crab that's got to be a pretty nasty way to die.

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Re: A nasty way to go

"So the little crabs get caught in the tendrils and are slowly eaten alive"

I thought that too, but it's probably that the 'eating' part takes some time, so I'm guessing it's more likely the victim dies of starvation (or boredom?!) first and is then absorbed afterwards.

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Boffin

Re: A nasty way to go

Not if the sponges start with eating the little brains. They are the tasty bits.

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Re: A nasty way to go

I've no sympathy for the little crabby beasties.

Consider it a form of payback.

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The Kraken wakes...

They've been down there all that time... waiting for the right moment to strike...

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So jellyfish see them as their living-fossil cousins...

Still nice to see another "missing link"

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Pedantry check-in

The character in Cannery Row is simply called "Doc". Ed Ricketts was a real marine biologist, a friend of Steinbeck's, and the model for the character.

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not that worried

the most dangerous sponges in California are human by classification.

except maybe Squidbob Cthulhupants...

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Angel

I'm going to patent ...

... a bathroom sponge made with individuals from these new species. They will end crab infestations once and for all!!!

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Devil

Re: I'm going to patent ...

Not to mention the threat to 'bath-snakes'...

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm

Can I get some for my fish tank?

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Considering how long crustaceans and sponges have been around, it'd almost be surprising if shrimp-eating sponges originated as late as the Jurassic.

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Happy

What about scaled-up versions?

I somehow picture a record sponge in the fossil record, holding a mosasaur in its deadly embrace.

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