Giant Red Urn Sponge (Verongia gigantea ) on an exposed rocky shelf, with Deep Water Gorgonians (Icilogorgia schrammi.)
North Wall, Grand Cayman Island - Depth 130 feet or 40 meters
|* To scuba divers off Grand Cayman's
North Wall, the above sponge might appear to be a very large
Red Cup Sponge (Mycale sp.) On closer examination, a diver may
conclude that it is a red color phase of the Urn Sponge (Verongia gigantea.)
The sponge pictured above was the largest such specimen that we encountered anywhere in our diving.
The habitat is exactly what would be expected of Verongia gigantea.
Visible in the lower left corner are unidentified Gorgonians, and in the background is the Deep Water Gorgonian Icilogorgia schrammi.
This was not, however, the largest Verongia we have encountered. At Grand Cayman's North Wall, we found a massive green species such as (1). We encountered it at a chance anchorage. Our camera setup was unable to capture it in its entirety, and we hoped to return at some later time with a suitable system. Although we took careful bearings, we were never able to locate it again.
At the time, we estimated the length of the sponge to be at least 10 feet or 3 meters