Table of Contents
ISRN Materials Science
Volume 2011, Article ID 535872, 8 pages
Research Article

Structural Arrangement and Properties of Spicules in Glass Sponges

1A.V. Zhirmunsky Institute of Marine Biology FEB RAS, Vladivostok 690041, Russia
2Fareastern Federal University, Vladivostok 690091, Russia

Received 1 April 2011; Accepted 22 May 2011

Academic Editors: K. Hokamoto and S. Sombra

Copyright © 2011 Anatoliy L. Drozdov and Alexander A. Karpenko. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The morphology, chemical composition, and optical properties of long monoaxonic spicules were studied in several species of marine deep-sea hexactinellid sponges of different orders and families: Asconema setubalense (Hexasterophora, Lyssacinosida) and Monorhaphis chuni Schulze (Monorhaphiidae). Their macrostructural organization is a system of thin layers laid around the central cylinder containing a square canal filled with organic matter. A significant role in spicule organization is played by the organic matrix. The macrostructural of organization of the spicule in Monorhaphis chuni is a system of the “cylinder-within-a-cylinder” type. However the spicule surface is covered with ridges. They penetrate a few layers into the spicule. Analysis of the elemental composition of the basalia spicule of Monorhaphis chuni demonstrates a heterogeneous allocation of C, O, Si on the spicule surface, subsurface layers, and on ridges. All studied spicules have the properties of anisotropic crystals and they demonstrate a capability to the birefrigence. On the other hand we discovered unique property of spicules—their capacity for triboluminescence. The discovery of triboluminescence in composite organosilicon materials of which the spicules of hexactinellid sponges are built may contribute to the creation of biomimetic materials capable of generating light emission.