Common Name:  Yellow-Green Encrusting Sponge (Green Bread Crumb Sponge)

Author:  Matthew Olson

Scientific name:  Halichondria panicea

Size:  H. panicea varies in size and is able to grow to several feet, while only growing to be about 2 inches (5 cm) thick.

Glass spicules and cells of H. panicea

Habitat: H. panicea enjoys the intertidal zone, in the crevices of the rocky surfaces, where it receive constant flow of water. It can be found in depths to at least 100m along the west coast Alaska to Mexico.

Identifying feature: H. panicea has a hard skeleton of glass spicules that are composed of silicon dioxide. It’s form can be highly varied.  It can be quite smooth and at other times can be studded with the many volcano-like tubes of the oscula. It may be green, yellow, or orange in colour and often has a sharply defined margin.  A distinct feature of this sponge is it’s smell.  Though it is often described as smelling like exploded gun powder the one in our aquarium smells more like garlic.


Lamb, A., Byers, S. C., Hanby, B. P., & Hawkes, M. W. (2009). Marine life of the Pacific Northwest: A photographic encyclopedia of invertebrates, seaweeds and selected fishes. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publ.

University of Puget Sound (2018).  Breadcrumb Sponge (Halichondria panicea), Retrieved November 7,2018 from

Purple Intertidal Sponge

Scientific Name: Haliclona permollis

Authors: Aidan Knudsen and Coral Reynolds

Haliclona permollis, more commonly known as The Purple Intertidal Sponge or Purple Encrusting Sponge is a purple (sometimes pink or grey) sponge with a velvety texture. This sponge is covered with small circular ostia (pores) where water enters and larger osculum where water leaves. The Purple Intertidal Sponge can grow up to 1.6 cm (0.7 in) thick. It lives in the intertidal waters between Southern California and Southern Alaska and can usually be found in waters up to 6m (20ft) deep in the intertidal areas, as well as in tidepools and on rocky shores.

This species is similar to the Breadcrumb Sponge (Halichondria panicea) and both species are frequently found on the rocky shores around Vancouver Island. Similar to other sponges th Purple Intertidal Sponge gets it’s nutrients by constantly moving water through it’s body (which enters through the ostia and leaves via the osculum) and filtering out and ingesting things like bacteria and organic matter.

Common Name: Velvety Red Sponge

Author: Grace Gong

Scientific Name: Ophlitaspongia pennata

The Velvety Red Sponge is distributed along the pacific coast (from British Columbia to California). It is often found in small crevices, under large rocks, and on the undersurfaces of seaweed in intertidal zone, where they are shaded from sunlight.

The Velvety Red Sponge usually feeds on small marine organisms (for example shrimp and crab larvae), some bacteria, and small particles of dissolved organic matter by using filtering. Its predators are nudibranchs, snails , and sea stars.

There are 10 different intertidal species with the common name of Velvety Red Sponge worldwide.  Their smooth, tough surface are scattered with small hole that are up to 2mm in diameter, and all of them are characterized by their distinctive color, which can range from bright red to a dull orange-red depending on the species.