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(Vosmaer, 1885)

Species Overview

Axinella arctica (Vosmaer, 1885) is a North Atlantic fan-shaped deep water species, similar to common species like Axinella infundibuliformis, from which it differs in lacking trichodragmas, and Phakellia ventilabrum and P. robusta, which have sinuous spicules added to the usual styles and oxeas.

Taxonomic Description

Colour: Pale yellow.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: Fan-shaped, with thin blade and thin stalk. Up to 15 cm high and 22 cm wide, frequently with torn and indented rim.
Spicules: Styles: 300-750 x 20 µm; oxeas: 300-600 x 14-20 µm.
Skeleton: Axial skeleton: strong branching fibres consisting of multispicular tracts of oxeas run upwards through the centre of the sponge. Extra-axial skeleton: from both sides of the axial system of fibres, short fibres consisting of styles run to the surface of the sponge united by oxeas placed at right angles to them.
Ecology: 40-600 m
Distribution: Roscoff, Iles de Glénan, SW Ireland, Faroes, Norway, Arctic.
Type specimen information: ZMA POR. 1780.


The records from the west coast of France need confirmation, as both were not adequately described. The Iles de Glénan specimen was a pale yellow small hemispherical cushion, but spicular data were provided: oxeas of 246-550 x 8-12 µm, short styles of 107-400 x 7-13 µm and long styles 477-1355 x 9-18 µm. The Roscoff specimen was apparently full-grown, but no spicule size data were provided. Both specimens were specifically stated to lack the trichodragmas.
Source: Stephens, 1920.

Axinella arctica