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Branching tube sponge
Aiolochroia crassa
(Hyatt, 1875)

Chiefly massive, frequently lobate to rarely ramose. Ramose outcrops up to 15 cm long, lobes up to 6 cm high. Total size up to 17 cm in diameter in massive specimens. Surface irregularly conulose, with large smooth areas showing fields of pores (A. crassa-close up). Interconnecting ridges between the conules may enclose polygonal depressions. Conules acute or low and blunt, 2-4 mm high, 2-7 mm apart, but quite irregularly distributed. Oscules 2-4 mm in diameter, on lobal outcrops (A. crassa-oscula). Typically, at various places large thick fibers stick out beyond the dermis. The consistency is rubbery, cheese-like and somewhat compressible.

Normally yellow with blue or green spots, but total bluish specimens can be found.

This species is known almost exclusively from reef localities.

Abundant Caribbean; common Bahamas and occasional South Florida.

Branching tube sponge (Aiolochroia crassa)