Ahhh - its soooo pretty! And its called a Ping Pong Sponge Tree!
Welll - I can see that, not too hard to imagine. I was a little surprised to find out it was a sponge, but that's ok! Sponges conjure up exotic images and pretty coral reefs - right? But this is a special sponge! It belongs to the Chondrocladia family of sponges.
Here is the description:
"Chondrocladia sponges are stipitate, with a stalk frequently anchored in the substrate by rhizoids and an egg-shaped body, sometimes with branches that end in inflatable spheres.""
ummm, right. Then, this....
"These sponges gained media attention when a new species, a gourd-shaped carnivorous sponge, was featured in reports of finds off the coast of Antarctica."
I'm sorry - did you say, carnivorous sponge?
"Carnivorous sponges, which use hooked spicules to capture small crustaceans, have been known only since 1995..."....and..."Carnivory has since turned out to be common and typical for this sponge family..."
Carnivory ? I didn't even know that was a word!
So you find out that those beautiful blue orbs are actually the means for this cute, pretty Ping Pong sponge tree - to catch its meal! Well, thank goodness, it lives in the really, really deep levels of the ocean - where it can't try to bite off our fingers.
Actually, I like to look at all sorts of things to get nice colour 'imaginations' in my head, so I will leave you with a slightly more boring, but the still beautiful 'Gersemia Rubiformis' - a pinky-red soft coral - which does what all sleepy lil corals do, eats plankton. So what's that - 'planktivory"?
Well - just had to share!