Morphology, abundance and the invasiveness of coral-killing sponge <i>Chalinula nematifera</i> (Porifera: Demosponigiae) from Con Dao National Park, Vietnam


  • Thai Minh Quang Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam



Coral-killing sponge, Con Dao, coral reefs, Vietnam.


This is the first study on morphology, abundance and invasion of coral-killing sponge Chalinula nematifera (De Laubenfels, 1954) from offshore waters in Con Dao islands, Vietnam. The results of the study show that the morphology is similar to that in the Western Pacific, but differs in skeletal structure compared to the description in the Eastern Pacific. The density of C. nematifera (average ± standard deviation) is 2.02 ± 5.03 colonies per 100 m2 (present at 12/15 survey stations) with the number of colonization belonging to diameter group 5–20 cm. They invade 30 species belonging to 23 genera of Scleractinia corals (44.7% on foliose/laminar and encrusting coral, 23.86% on massive coral and 21.97% on branching coral). The ability to invade corals of C. nematifera does not limit the host. So, this is considered a potential hazard to the East Vietnam Sea coral reefs in the future.


Download data is not yet available.


[1] Aerts, L. A. M., and Van Soest, R. W. M., 1997. Quantification of sponge/coral interactions in a physically stressed reef community, NE Colombia. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 148, 125–134. Doi: 10.3354/meps148125.

[2] Wulff, J. L., 2006. Ecological interactions of marine sponges. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 84(2), 146–166. Doi: 10.1139/z06-019.

[3] Bell, J. J., 2008. The functional roles of marine sponges. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 79(3), 341–353. Doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2008.052.

[4] Chadwick, N. E., and Morrow, K. M., 2011. Competition among sessile organisms on coral reefs. In Coral Reefs: an ecosystem in transition (pp. 347–371). Springer, Dordrecht.

[5] Rützler, K., and Muzik, K., 1993. Terpios hoshinota, a new cyanobacteriosponge threatening Pacific reefs. Scientia Marina, 57(4), 395–403.

[6] De Weerdt, W. H., 2002. Family Chalinidae Gray, 1867. In Systema Porifera (pp. 852–873). Springer, Boston, MA.

[7] Coles, S. L., and Bolick, H., 2007. Invasive introduced sponge Mycale grandis overgrows reef corals in Kāne ‘ohe Bay, O ‘ahu, Hawai ‘i. Coral Reefs, 26(4), 911-911. Doi: 10.1007/s00338-007-0295-x.

[8] Benzoni, F., Calcinai, B., Eisinger, M., and Klaus, R., 2008. Coral disease mimic: sponge attacks Porites lutea in Yemen. Coral Reefs, 27(3), 695. Doi: 10.1007/s00338-008-0371-x.

[9] Turicchia, E., Hoeksema, B. W., and Ponti, M., 2018. The coral-killing sponge Chalinula nematifera as a common substrate generalist in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Marine Biology Research, 14(8), 827–833. Doi: 10.1080/17451000.2018.1544420.

[10] De Laubenfels, M. W., 1954. The sponges of the west-central Pacific (No. 7). Oregon State College.

[11] Hooper, J. N. A., 2008. Sponges. pp. 170–186. In: Hutchings, P., Kingsford, M. J., & Hoegh-Guldberg, I. O., (eds). The Great Barrier Reef: Biology, Environment and Management. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne. Available for editors.

[12] Rossi, G., Montori, S., Cerrano, C., and Calcinai, B., 2015. The coral killing sponge Chalinula nematifera (Porifera: Haplosclerida) along the eastern coast of Sulawesi Island (Indonesia). Italian Journal of Zoology, 82(1), 143–148.

[13] OBIS USA, 2017. Dataset: University of Florida Museum of Natural History Invertebrate Zoology Collection. (

[14] Chervyakova, N. A., 2007. Porifera (Demospongia) of the Nha Trang bay. In: Britayev, T. A., & Pavlov, D. S., (Eds.). Benthic fauna of the Bay of Nha Trang. Moscow.

[15] Lim, S. C., Putchakarn, S., Thai, M. Q., Wang, D., and Huang, Y. M., 2016. Inventory of sponge fauna from the Singapore Strait to Taiwan Strait along the western coastline of the South China Sea. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 34, 104–129.

[16] Cruz-Barraza, J. A., and Carballo, J. L., 2008. Taxonomy of sponges (Porifera) associated with corals from the Mexican Pacific Ocean. Zoological Studies, 47(6), 741–758.

[17] Ávila, E., and Carballo, J. L., 2009. A preliminary assessment of the invasiveness of the Indo-Pacific sponge Chalinula nematifera on coral communities from the tropical Eastern Pacific. Biological Invasions, 11(2), 257–264.

[18] Cheung, C. P., Tuan, V. S., and Phung, N. H., 1994. Survey report on the biodiversity, resource utilization and conservation potential of Con Dao islands (South Vietnam). WWF Vietnam marine conservation-VN0011, Paper, 93.

[19] Vo Si Tuan, Nguyen Huy Yet and Nguyen Van Long, 2005. Coral reefs of Vietnam. Publishing House for Science and Technology, 212 p. (in Vietnamese).

[20] Hooper, J. N. A., Kennedy, J. A., and Van Soest, R. W. M., 2000. Annotated checklist of sponges (Porifera) of the South China Sea region. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 8, 125–207.

[21] English, S., Wilkinson, C., and Baker, V., 1997. Survey manual for tropical marine resources.

[22] Veron, J. E. N., and Stafford-Smith, M., 2000. Corals of the World. Volumes 1–3. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Australia, 1382.

[23] Hooper, J. N. A., 2000. Sponguide: Guide to sponge collection and identification. Queensland Museum.

[24] Hooper, J. N., and Van Soest, R. W., 2002. Systema Porifera. A guide to the classification of sponges. In Systema Porifera (pp. 1–7). Springer, Boston, MA.