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Excavating sponges from the Adriatic Sea: description of Cliona adriatica sp. nov. (Demospongiae: Clionaidae) and estimation of its boring activity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 October 2010

B. Calcinai*
Dipartimento di Scienze del Mare, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131, Ancona, Italy
G. Bavestrello
Dipartimento di Scienze del Mare, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131, Ancona, Italy
G. Cuttone
Dipartimento di Scienze del Mare, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131, Ancona, Italy
C. Cerrano
Dipartimento per lo studio del Territorio e delle sue Risorse, Università di Genova, Corso Europa, 26, 16132, Genova, Italy
Correspondence should be addressed to: B. Calcinai, Dipartimento di Scienze del Mare, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy email:


Boring sponge diversity in the area of the Conero Promontory, the most important rocky emergence on the west coast of the Adriatic Sea (Italy), was assessed. Four species were recorded; one of them, Cliona adriatica, is new and is described here. The new species differs from all the other excavating sponge species, characterized by yellow papillae and lacking or scarcity of microscleres, in the large size of the boring chambers and the presence of numerous styles. Cliona adriatica is present on about 12% of the surface of rocky bottoms in the Conero Promontory area. The impact of this highly destructive species on the carbonatic micritic rock of the promontory was evaluated calculating a relationship between the volume of the boring chambers and the surface of the epilithic portions. Consequently, it was estimated that 1 cm2 of epilithic tissue corresponds to 8.5 g of excavated rock. The recorded correlation between the excavated volume and the area of the papillar zone (roughly the area of the substratum affected by the erosion) allows an estimation of the substratum removed by a boring sponge, using only visually oriented, non-destructive, sampling methods.

Research Article
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2010

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