Comparative analysis revealed that the "stinging black sponge" is a sponge species not described so far:Heliclona cnidata. This species appeard in the international aquarium trade some years ago. As its natural habitat is not known, the iFZ - namely the tropical marine aquarium systems of the iFZ - was defined as location of origin. The stinging black sponge and its defence weapons were described recently in Frontiers in Marine Science.
Schellenberg J, Reichert J, Hardt M, Schmidtberg H, Kämpfer P, Glaeser SP, Schubert P and Wilke T (2019) The Precursor Hypothesis of Sponge Kleptocnidism: Development of Nematocysts in Haliclona cnidata sp. nov. (Porifera, Demospongiae, Haplosclerida). Front. Mar. Sci. 5:509. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00509
For more information:
Prof. Dr. Tom Wilke, Systematics and Biodiversity Group