Bloody Crater Sponge – Phorbas fictitius
The Bloody Crater Sponge is a species in the class of the Demospongiae and thus belongs to the phylum of the Sponges. Phorbas fictitius was first described in 1866 by Bowerbank as Anchinoe fictitius. Sometimes it is still found under the synonym Anchinoe fictitius, which is no longer up to date because it was transferred to a different genus.
The Bloody Crater Sponge has an intense red colour, but this can vary. Possible other colourations are orange, pink or grey. Over its entire surface are numerous craters, whereby one sees some holes, which lead into the interior.
Phorbas fictitius is up to 30cm long and forms a crust, which becomes up to 14mm thick.
There is a possibility of confusion with Hemimycale columella. With similar colouring, however, this has bright crater rims!
Habitat and Distribution
The Bloody Crater Sponge lives on rocky ground down to depths of 60m, whereby it prefers areas with moving water.
When diving in the Canaries you can observe it quiet often.
In addition, its distribution area extends from the British Isles, along the European coast, to the Strait of Gibraltar. It is also found in the south of Norway, the North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, around the Azores and Madeira.
Phorbas fictitius lives sessil and its diet consists of plankton only. Within 24 hours, it filters around 2000 times as much water as its own volume.
Furthermore, the Bloody Crater Sponge resides the Emerald Sea-Slug, which feeds on it.