The Geology of Delaware

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Sponges: Phylum Porifera

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Phylum Porifera is a group of simple animals that includes the sponges. Porifera have no internal organs, nervous tissue, circulatory system, or digestive systems, making them the most primitive of the multi-cellular animals. To support and protect their soft bodies, sponges produce skeletons of calcium carbonate, silica, or a soft organic material called spongin. The most common fossil sponge in the Cretaceous sediments of Delaware is the genus Cliona. Cliona sponges lived on rocks and shells of the seafloor and commonly bored holes in these objects, in which it lived. To obtain food, the sponges filtered the water around them as it passed through tiny pores located on their outer walls. The sponge is common in the Mount Laurel Formation along the Canal.

Reference(s): 

Photographs and figures from DGS Special Publication No. 18, by E. M. Lauginiger, 1988.

Photo Gallery
Cliona cretacica - specimen from the Mount Laurel Formation
Cliona cretacica - specimens from the Mount Laurel Formation, the Marshalltown Formation, and the Merchantville Formation
Cliona cretacica - occurs in the Mount Laurel Formation, the Marshalltown Formation, and the Merchantville Formation