The aim of this study is to investigate the possibility of using the tensile strength and the elasticity as two, among others, objective criteria for the evaluation of the quality and commercial value of two ‘Elephant Ear’ commercial sponges (Mediterranean and Philippine). These criteria could also provide additional taxonomic characters for the distinction of ill-defined species. The average tensile strength of the Mediterranean Elephant Ear was found equal to 2.88 ±0.19 kg cm-2 and that of the Philippine Elephant Ear equal to 6.88 ±0.77 kg cm-2 while the corresponding values for elasticity were 26.1 ±0.79% and 7.8 ±0.6%. This difference is related to the structure and arrangement of the spongin fibres as seen under the scanning electron microscope. The arrangement of the secondary fibres (very compact and regular structure) as well as the abundance and the orientation of the primary fibres (arrangement in the form of bars perpendicular to the external surface) give to the Philippine Elephant Ear a higher tensile strength value, a roughness to the touch and consequently inelasticity and stiffness. In contrast, the large number of smooth secondary fibres in the Mediterranean Elephant Ear, their loose arrangement and the limited number of primary fibres give to this sponge a higher elasticity and a smaller tensile strength value.
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