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Boring sponge
Cliona spp.

These species are visible as scattered papillae, protruding through the surface of corals, or as incrustations, that actually bore into coral heads (Cliona janitrix). Inside the substrate, the sponge bores interior canals of up to 3 mm.

The color differs between the species: papillae of Cliona aprica are olive to dull brown (overview photo); Cliona dioryssa forms orange papillae (Cliona dioryssa), while the incrustations of C. janitrix are bright yellow.

Bore into corals and coral rubble by secreting minute amounts of acid. From the exterior there is usually no visible damage. However, the corals' interiors may be riddled with tunnels and chambers that may eventually cause their structures to disintegrate.

Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.

Boring sponge (Cliona spp.)