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The Caribbean spicule tree: a sponge-imitating foraminifer (Astrorhizidae)
Rützler, K.; Richardson, S. (1996). The Caribbean spicule tree: a sponge-imitating foraminifer (Astrorhizidae). Bull. K. Belg. Inst. Nat. Wet. 66(Suppl.): 143-151
In: Bulletin. Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Mededelingen. Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen. KBIN: Brussel. ISSN 0368-0177, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Rützler, K.; Richardson, S. (1996). The Caribbean spicule tree: a sponge-imitating foraminifer (Astrorhizidae), in: Willenz, Ph. Recent advances in sponge biodiversity inventory and documentation: Proceedings of the 10th Workshop on Atlanto-Mediterranean Sponge Taxonomy, Brussels, April 25-30, 1995. Bulletin van het Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen. Biologie = Bulletin de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Biologie, 66(Suppl.): pp. 143-151, more

Available in Authors 
Document type: Conference paper

Keywords
    Coral reefs; Foraminifera [WoRMS]; Spiculidendron corallicolum Richardson & Rützler, 1996 [WoRMS]; ASW, Caribbean [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Rützler, K.
  • Richardson, S.

Abstract
    An unusually large agglutinated foraminifer was found to be common in semishaded habitats on Caribbean coral reefs. The tree-shaped organism attains 50 mm in height and builds its test using siliceous sponge spicules exclusively. A new genus and species, Spiculidendron corallicolum, are established in the Textulariina family Astrorhizidae. The new taxon is characterized by a complexly branching tubular test that is attached to hard substrate and has a simple wall lacking septae and apertures. Electron microscopy shows a spongin-like organic cement and various cell organelles and inclusions, including dinophycean symbionts. Cytoplasm resides in substrate cavities and in the hollow base of stem and branches that form the test. Observations suggest that in life cytoplasm flows also outside the test along its thin distal branches where it cements new spicules in place and takes up food (pseudopodia).

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