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Galitz, Adrian; Cook, Steve de C.; Ekins, Merrick; Hooper, John N. A.; Naumann, Peter T.; Voogd, Nicole J. de; Abdul Wahab, Muhammad; Wörheide, Gert ORCID: 0000-0002-6380-7421; Erpenbeck, Dirk (2018): Identification of an aquaculture poriferan “Pest with Potential” and its phylogenetic implications. In: PeerJ, Vol. 6, e5586
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Abstract

Correct identification and classification of sponges is challenging due to ambiguous or misleading morphological features. A particular case is a blue keratose sponge occasionally referred to as the \textquotedblBlue Photo Sponge\textquotedbl among aquarists, which appears frequently (and in several cases unintended) in private aquaria. This spicule-less species, occasionally specified as Collospongia auris Bergquist, Cambie & Kernan 1990, not only displays a high phenotypic plasticity in growth form and colour, it also proliferates in aquacultures under standard conditions unlike most other sponges. Therefore, this species is regarded as a pest for most aquarists. In turn, the ease of cultivation and propagation in aquacultures qualifies this species as a model organism for a wide array of scientific applications. For these purposes, correct identification and classification are indispensable. We reconstructed ribosomal gene trees and determined this species as Lendenfeldia chondrodes (De Laubenfels, 1954) (Phyllospongiinae), distant to Collospongia auris, and corroborated by skeletal features. Additionally, the resulting phylogeny corroborated major shortcomings of the current Phyllospongiinae classification-its consequences are discussed.