It is the year 1999. I am sitting in my grandparent’s basement, wearing Doc Martens and a pair of shorts in exactly the same pattern as my obnoxiously colored flowery shirt. I have one of those weird plastic choker things and some oddly placed glitter on my cheeks. My lips are blue, because I was recently allowed to purchase blue Lip Smackers that smell like a flavor that doesn’t exist in nature. My hair is wet from playing in my Crazy Daisy. Enter: a new TV show on Ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-Nick, Nickelodeon – it is about a sea sponge and his goofy pals. Spongebob has arrived. The world is forever changed.
Fast forward 19 years. I am sitting on my couch, watching Spongebob with my toddler. This show has gotten really weird. I decide to write about actual Sea Sponges. Enter: you. We are here now, together, in this Sea Sponge journey. There are 5 weird facts. Life is beautiful. Let us begin.
1. If you put Sea Sponges in a blender, they will reconstruct themselves
No y’all that’s for real. It’s called “reaggregation” and scientists have literally been chopping up Sea Sponges and leaving them overnight to see what happens. Sounds like some amateur science to me, but what do I know. “Hey, Tim, uh… I know we just put this thing into a blender but… I worked overtime yesterday and I kinda just want to go home… I’ll clean up tomorrow.” SCIENCE ENSUES
2. Sea Sponges can draw in as much as 20,000 times their volume of water in a day
I don’t totally understand what these things are, but this makes them sound like some kind of sea water Brita filter? 20,000 times their own volume in 24 hours is… a lot of filtration. I guess they take in all the water and eat up the plankton and schmutz inside. I could save so much money if I could hire a Sea Sponge to work like a Brita filter in my fridge. If y’all see any sponges with “will work for weird gross tap water” let me know.
3. Our spongy buddies reproduce asexually, but also sexually
A few species of Sea Sponge multiply by a process called “budding”, which honestly makes me feel a lot better about Spongebob. Most species multiply sexually though, which makes me feel weird about Spongebob again.
4. Sea Sponges are neither plant nor animal
Technically, a Sea Sponge is a simple animal that grows like a plant. Like, they have no brain, central nervous system, or digestive tract, and they grow, reproduce, and can be sustainably harvested like plants, but scientists still consider them animals. Yeah, okay Tim. I guess you win this round.
5. They are very slow boys
Most sponges stay put, this is true. But according to super reliable source Wikipedia, some varieties of Sea Sponge can move at speeds of up to 1–4 mm (0.039–0.157 in) per day. I’ll be investing in sponge racing this year, because this is exactly the kind of speed I can get behind. Zoom on, little sponge. Zoom on.
There you have it. Sea Sponges are very weird. I’m gonna go back to watching my dear, lifelong friends from Bikini Bottom.
That is all.