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Euplectella

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Euplectella is a genus that contains sponges from the sea. Due to the presence of silica spicules, they are also known as glass sponges. It involves the flower baskets of Venus. They are found abundantly, deep in the ocean, in marine water. Their bodies are curved, tubular, basket-like, or in the form of a vase. The circulation of water occurs through the canal system. The type of canal system is syconoid. They are found in a symbiotic relationship with shrimp.


Euplectella Diagram

The below-given image shows the euplectella diagram.

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Classification of Euplectella

Euplectella is categorized under the Porifera phylum. They belong to the Hexactinellida class, distinguished by the skeleton of triaxon spicules with six rays.

An example of a very common species of Euplectella is Euplectella aspergillum.

The below-given table shows the classification of euplectella:-


Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Porifera

Class

Hexactinellida

Order

Lyssacinosida

Family

Euplectellidae

Genus

Euplectella


Structure and Characteristics of Euplectella 

  • The body is cylindrical and basket-like, connected to the sea bottom by the tuft of fibers. 

  • Triaxon spicules make up the skeleton. The silica spicules give them a glassy appearance. 

  • The true Ostia is not present. Numerous perforations are parietal gaps on the outer surface.

  • For water circulation, a well-connected canal system is present. The canal system is found to be syconoid. Within the body and outside, the incurrent channels are attached to radial channels and open into spongocoel. 

  • The lining of choanocytes is found in the radial canal.

  • Throughout the lives of male and female, a pair of spongicola shrimps are found inside the sponge's body. Their tiny offspring come out to find their own basket. Shrimp receives the food from the basket and cleans the basket from the inside, in exchange. 

  • They reproduce both asexually and sexually.

  • Euplectella's glassy fibrous binding to the ocean bed is being examined to make more durable optical fibers for fiber optics. This can also be used to make solar cells that are low-cost and more efficient.

Euplectella Habitat:

The euplectella habitat is such that it is found to be attached to rocky regions of the seafloor. It is identified under the surface from 100 to 1000 m and it is most abundant at depths greater than 500 m. A small region of the sea near the Philippine Islands is home to Venus' flower baskets. Some of the similar species are found Near Japan and in certain other parts of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. 


Euplectella Morphology:

  • The body is found to be curved, tubular, and basket-like and composed of spicules of triaxons. Numerous apertures perforate the body, which is not actual Ostia, but rather parietal gaps. 

  • There is a syconoid type of canal system where Ostia communicates with incurrent canals that communicate through prosopyles with radial canals. These radial canals, in turn, open up to spongocoel and to osculum outside. 

  • A thin-walled, cylindrical, vase-shaped tube with a deep central atrium is the body structure of these animals. 

  • The entire body is made up of silica, in the shape of 6-pointed silica spicules, thus are generally called glass sponges. The spicules are made up of three perpendicular rays that give them 6 points. 

  • Spicules inside the sponge's tissues are small, pin-like structures that provide the sponge with structural support. It is the combination of the types of spicules inside the tissues of a sponge that helps classify the species.

  • The spicules 'weave' together in the case of glass sponges to form a very fine mesh that gives the sponge's body a rigidity whereas the same is not observed in other sponge species. It enables glass sponges to live in the water column at great depths.

  • To draw plankton, it is speculated that the sponge harnesses bioluminescence.

Reproduction in Euplectella:

  • Asexual reproduction (it tends to happen when conditions are not favorable): amebocytes (carrier cells) are observed being attached to the deteriorating sponge. The amoebocytes are surrounded later by epithelial cells, and a new species emerges from the clump of cells when the dying sponge is all gone.

  • Sexual reproduction: Through the interior current, sperm enters the sponge and then fertilizes the ova. An amebocyte is responsible for carrying out ovum fertilization. After this, both the amoebocyte and the sperm enter the ovum and generate a cytostome that engulfs both the sperm and carrier cell. Then this zygote moves through radial holoblastic cleavage, producing cells of comparable size and form. A free-swimming larva is produced from an embryo which ultimately grows into a new sponge.

Conclusion

Euplectella is found to carry marine sponges. They are also recognized as glass sponges because of the presence of silica spicules. It is counted under the phylum Porifera and is believed to belong to the class Hexactinellida. Further, they are distinguished by the presence of a skeleton of triaxon spicules with six rays. Euplectella is tended to show both kinds of reproduction, i.e., sexual and asexual Reproduction.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What Makes Euplectella a Precious Ornamental Gift?

Ans. The skeleton of some silica sponges such as Euplectella is renowned for beauty and is in great demand in Japan for marriage ceremonies. A glass sponge belonging to the Hexactinellida class is Euplectella, also known as the Venus flower basket. The sponge is reached by a young shrimp pair, and they develop and are unable to exit the sponge. The shrimps' undergo the process of breeding and the offspring escape in search of a new sponge for them. The shrimps help in cleaning the sponge from the inside, which is in turn rewarded with shelter and food. Further, the shrimps are observed to stay inside sponges till they completely die. Therefore, the symbiotic relationship of Euplectella sponge shrimps gives an example of the union until death and the dried and dead sponge is offered in Japan as a wedding gift to symbolize the 'till death do us part' affection.

Q2. Give Some Applications of Euplectella.

Ans. 

  • For fiber optics researchers, the glassy fibers that bind the sponge to the ocean floor, 5-20 centimeters (2-8 in) long and thin as human hair, are of interest.

  • The sponge extracts and converts silicon acid from seawater into silica and then shapes it into an intricate glass fiber skeleton.

  • A new type of structural lattice with greater strength to weight ratio has been influenced by its skeletal structure than any other diagonally reinforced square lattices being used in engineering applications.