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Make history by naming one of three rare shallow water sea sponges newly identified in the Galapagos Archipelago! Sea sponges are the oldest known form of animal life, having existed for over 600 million years, and have been key to many medical breakthroughs.
Bids for the naming rights to one of the vividly-colored sea sponges can be made through our secure online auction site. Online bidding starts at $1,000 USD and will close at 9pm EST on December 31st 2020. Interested bidders can choose between the bright orange or the watermelon pink rock dwelling sponges, or opt for the fragile, translucent melon colored sponge found hidden in an underwater cave (see below for more details).
All proceeds from the auction are tax-deductible and will go directly to research and conservation efforts to protect the Galapagos marine habitat, which faces immense threat from climate change, fishing pressure and human activities — helping to save these new species from extinction.
This distinctive bright orange new species of sponge of the genera Higginsia covers the rock surface up to an inch thick with a firm texture, although compressible. It is most likely to be seen at recreational diving depths between 10-40 feet in depth along the western coast of Isabela Island. One location where it was discovered was a favorite stop for nineteenth-century whalers and a site visited by Charles Darwin in 1835.
This unique fragile, translucent melon colored sponge is found at around 60 feet depth at the entrance to an underwater cave on the island of Floreana, originally known as Charles Island. It has a thickly encrusting base, from which arises fused, branching plates around half an inch high. The new species of the genus Acanthella is accessible by recreational diving, is very soft and delicate, and can be compressed. The HMS Beagle visited Floreana Island in September of 1835 and it was here that Charles Darwin collected all of his fish specimens, writing “all…new, without exception.”
This delicate yet striking watermelon pink sponge with tinges of yellow and purple sponge thickly covers the coral reef surface. This is a cavernous and porous sponge of the genus Haliclona with the surface densely covered in pores that rise up while its texture is very soft and fragile. This distinctive new species is restricted to the northwestern-most part of the Galapagos archipelago, right on the equator line, and found at around 60 feet depth.
For more details, see Galapagos Conservancy’s full press release.
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