Science Of...

Carnivorous Sponges: The Venus Flytraps Of The Sea

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Carnivorous sponges typically live in the deep sea. Unlike other sponges, they aren't filter-feeders, and instead feed on the unfortunate crustaceans that become caught on their velcro-like hooks. The sponges don't have a stomach or digestive system, so they slowly eat their prey at the cellular level: individual cells travel to, cover, and digest their catches. There are more than 100 species of carnivorous sponge known to science.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Sponges typically feed on bacteria and single-celled organisms that they sift out of water currents. 00:26

  2. The individual cells of carnivorous sponges engulf and digest caught prey. 01:03

  3. Carnivorous sponges have probably been around for about 200 million years. 03:15

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