Birds do it, reptiles do it, and humans do it with “Ashu!” – Now it turns out that sponges can sneeze as well, eliminating buildups of particles trapped in mucus on their surface in the process.
The team behind the research said that while aquatic organisms have previously been observed developing contractions, which they dubbed “sneezing,” the details of the process remain unclear.
They have now discovered that contractions are involved in an unexpected form of waste disposal.
Dr Jasper de Guig, a marine biologist at the University of Amsterdam and lead author of the paper, said the team made their discovery while examining videos of sponges in an effort to understand how the creatures defecate.
We found a lot of [ejected] Substance … it’s probably inorganic particles, meaning sand, sediment, stuff that a sponge can’t use and that probably just clogs the system and needs to be disposed of,” said de Guij.
A chimney sponge is somewhat similar, as it has long been believed to be a one-way system. Water, which contains nutrients, enters the organism through small pores and is filtered, with excess water and waste materials draining into the central cavity from which they are expelled through a single opening called the orifice.
But the latest study suggests that another waste disposal system is in place.
Writing in the journal Current Biologyde Guij and colleagues report how they found Caribbean pipe sponges, Alessina ArcheryAnd the He has a constant stream of mucus flowing from his pores against the feeding stream – not unlike a runny nose – carrying particles with him.
The team says that this mucus forms highways through the sponge, intercepting and moving molecules on the surface in the process, creating filamentous clumps. When a sponge sneezes, this particle-rich mucus is expelled into the surrounding areas.
“This is something we haven’t seen before,” said Professor Sally Lees, a sponge expert at the University of Alberta and co-author of the research.
Moreover, the team said, this mucus-rich substance is subsequently fed by other organisms.
“There are many creatures that would probably crave a little spongy mucus,” said de Guig.
The authors suggested that particles should be removed from the organism’s pores and removed from its surface to prevent clogging of its filtration system.
“There must be some evolutionary advantage to not having all these bits and pieces in [organisms’ pores]One possible explanation is that it might damage the filter cells in the sponge, Lis said.
However, questions remain, including what exactly causes sponges to sneeze, how mucus moves, and how widespread this phenomenon is among sponges.
While sponge sneezing is different from human contractions, not least because sponges filter water rather than air and it takes them about half an hour to sneeze, Lis said there are similarities, as both involve uncontrolled contractions to expel waste.
“What’s really interesting is that it’s kind of an evolutionary fundamental,” Lis said.
Lis added that the study provided new insights into what might appear to be a simple creature.
“It’s a very sensitive and symmetrical animal, although it doesn’t have all the characteristics that I grew up to understand animals should have – the fronts, the back, the eyes, the tail, things like that,” she said. “He’s constantly behaving in a way that we can relate to.”
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