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Haeckel, 1870

Species Overview

Leucaltis clathria Haeckel (1870) is a whitish mass of intertwined tubes, with small oscules scattered over the branches. It has characteristic spiculation (microscopic examination). It has been recorded once from the coast of Portugal.

Taxonomic Description

Colour: White to yellowish grey (alcohol).
Shape, size, surface and consistency: A clathrate mass of anastomosing tubes. Size only a few mm in diameter. Oscules scattered over the tubes. Consistency firm, friable.
Spicules: (Leucaltis clathria spics) Calcareous. Ectosomal triactines, regular, rays: 400-600 x 30-50 µm; subectosomal tetractines, regular, rays: 800-1200 x 100-150 µm; choanosomal triactines and tetractines, regular to somewhat sagittal, rays: 30-70 x 2-3 µm.
Skeleton: (Leucaltis clathria skel) Ectosomal: there is a cortex of several layers of tangential triactines, supported by rays of the subectosomal tetractines. Chamber skeleton: formed by the apical rays of subectosomal tetractines and small scattered tri-and tetractines. Atrial: several tangential layers of tetractines.
Ecology: Littoral down to 82 m.
Etymology: clathrium (Latin) = latticework, referring to the shape.
Distribution: West coast of Portugal; elsewhere reported e.g. from Bermuda and various Pacific localities, which need confirmation.
Type specimen information: No type mayterial in the Natural History Museum, London.


The species is easily recognised by the huge subdermal tetractines. The species was reported from Portugal under the name Heteropegma nodusgordii, which is generally considered a junior synonym of L. clathria. The specific identity of the Portuguese record needs further confirmation.
Source: Burton, 1963.

Leucaltis clathria