6 Captivating Facts About Venus Flower Basket

If there is anything which can make someone’s day is receiving surprise flowers. Alas, who doesn’t love getting flowers from a loved one? Well, you can always buy yourself some and treat yourself better, right?

What we have in store for you today is something unique yet quirky yet exceptionally beautiful.

The Venus flower basket is a glass sponge that belongs to the genus of euplectella and belongs to the phylum Porifera. Its scientific name is Euplectella aspergillum, and it belongs to the order Lyssacinosida1, and it’s from the family of Euplectellidae.

Venus Flower Basket: What is it?

A white sea sponge similar to the vase known as the flower basket euplectella aspergillum can look incredibly delicate as it is made of silica, the main ingredient in glass.

In addition, the only thing that keeps this glass sponge attached to the ocean floor is a series of tiny glass structures called spicules2, each about the size of human hair. They seem as if they are from an alien planet.

The Firmness of the Venus Flower Basket

Venus flower basket
By: Arctium Lappa on Shutterstock

However, these sponges can hold on tight and withstand bending in the current environment in rough terrain as deep as 1,000 feet below the surface, while filtering nutrients from the water.

The secret of their strength lies in the geometric shape of those tiny glass spicules.

Engineers investigating their design found that the narrow glass core of each spicule has a small diameter of 10 to 50 small glass cylinders around it – all inside a structure about 100 millimetres in diameter.

The organic material in the center of each cylinder concentric becomes smaller and thinner and moves outwards from the center to the edge.

Buildings and Glass Sponges

So engineers have developed a mathematical model of the spicule structure to determine the appropriate configuration of the resistance layers.

The model predicted that the strongest arrangement was the same when each consecutive concentrated layer became much smaller – as found in a real animal.

But these findings are more than just curiosity. Natural designs can inspire human designs, especially when building sturdy buildings. Knowing how these tiny glass spicules can hold a cylindrical sponge for years may help engineers design more powerful beams on Earth.

Where Are They Found?

Venus flower basket is a remarkable sea sponge found in the deep waters of the western Pacific Ocean. This particularly impressive sea sponge found in the ocean around the Philippine Islands and the east coast of South Africa belongs to the class hexactinellid and can be located worldwide.

They can be found at just 10 meters to up to 6000 meters below the surface and they usually live in cold water around 2 to 11 degrees Celsius3.

Properties of Venus Flower Basket

This otherworldly creature is benthic and sessile. A sedentary creature uses its external skeleton to filter food from its water, they act as filter feeders.

They are usually attached to the ocean floors or the rocky bottoms and get nutrients from filter-feeding using flagella on collar cells.

They live by simple respiration and waste removal cycles. They reproduce sexually and asexually with broadcast spawning. 

Skeletal Structure

shutterstock 352835519
By: Arctium Lappa on Shutterstock

There are three distinct parts of this sponge-

  • Covered osculum
  • A spongocoel with a tubular canal
  • Holdfast that has thin fibre optics

Top Interesting Facts About Venus Flower Basket

1. Biomimicry

To mimic what this sponge has been able to accomplish naturally, using carbon fibre in a structure is similar to the sponge we have access to light yet solid material.

Applications

  • carbon fibre golf clubs
  • carbon fibre driveshafts
  • and very high-performance carbon arrows.

The absolute world towers in Ontario, Canada, are based on the Venus flower basket mimic structure.

2. Glass Sponges as a Gift

It is a common tradition in Japanese culture to give glass sponges as wedding gifts to any newlywed couple. It symbolizes a strong bond between the lovers.

Because there is nothing like a deepsea Venus flower basket and shrimp to represent eternal togetherness, they remain together inside the Venus flower basket till death.

3. Frilly Appearance

The sponge’s body almost seems like it’s made of lace. Other than that, what looks like a soft mesh is glass-like pieces of silica called spicules. This exotic creature weaves together to form its outer skeleton.

And as it looks soft, this architectural design is excellent. It is what makes these sponges so resistant to high water pressure at sea level. But that is not the only role.

A shiny, barrel-shaped room types a skeleton made of a glass sponge. Flowing mimicry reveals how this complex structure alters the way water flows using a sponge, which provides tolerance for unforgiving sea currents and possibly nourishment and reproduction.

Using large computers, Falcucci and his colleagues mimicked the way water flows around and through the body of a sponge, with several different bone components similar to a thousand pores. Thus, the sponge body withstands very little stress.

4. Sponge Shrimp

The venus flower skeleton sponge is the home and breeding ground for deep-sea shrimps. When two deep-seated shrimp come together, they find a sponge and crawl through a glass nose. Then they settled down for the rest of their lives.

This is because of the passing of particles in food that attach to the spicules so that shrimp can find stable food. It is a very good thing about shrimp, but this symbiotic relationship also works well with a sponge.

The hungry shrimp keeps its spicules very clean, and the sponge feeds on the shrimp’s waste. As the shrimp grows bigger, they cannot get out. They are trapped inside the Venus flower basket’s mesh.

Their shells have also become less spiny since the Venus flower basket protects them from predators. So they can’t live anywhere but inside the Venus flower basket.

5. Bioluminescent property

Scientists speculate that the spores of the Venus flower basket transmit light from nearby bioluminescent organisms, so as new pairs of shrimp seek a new home, these glowing lights in the dark attract them.

This intimate relationship has kept the shrimp alive in the deep ocean.

6. Optics

Venus flower baskets are widely known for their fibre optics. It compares to the same fibre optics humans use but in many impressive works and ways.

There is little to no sunlight at the Venus flower basket’s depth, but there are some bioluminescent bacteria. So the fibre optic skeletons are developed by this organism to absorb and disperse this light to the rest of the skeleton.

History

The term Venus flower basket was first described by Sir Richard Owen in 1841 in the Transactions of the Zoological Society.

Sir Richard Owen was the first Director of the Natural History Museum when he moved to South Kensington. He is the man who coined the term dinosaur.

As dinosaurs roamed the earth, the giant Venus flower basket euplectella thrived in the prehistoric ocean. Weapons were thought to be extinct 40 million years ago, leaving only large fossil fuels and then crossing parts of Portugal, Spain and France, and Germany across Eastern Europe to Romania.

That was not until 1987 when Dr. Bill Austin and a team of Canadian scientists discovered the 9000-year-old glass sponges on the northern coast of British Columbia and have done many impressive works.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is special about the Venus flower basket?

You might need to spend a few hours swimming and diving in the ocean until you’re able to discover one of the most well-known glass sponges, Venus’ Flower Basket, a kind of Euplectella.

2. Why is it called a Venus flower basket?

The sponges have delicate, white, siliceous skeletons that resemble latticework, thus giving rise to the title Venus’s flower basket.

3. What size is a Venus flower basket?

The basket or skeleton is a curving tube that measures around 25 cm (10 inches) in length.

Bottomline

So, that’s all we have for you on the Venus flower basket, we hope you found this information fascinating and get some soon!

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Unleash The Secrets of Sea Sponges
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  1. Shen, Chengcheng, et al. “A new species of the glass sponge genus Walteria (Hexactinellida: Lyssacinosida: Euplectellidae) from northwestern Pacific seamounts, providing a biogenic microhabitat in the deep sea.” Acta Oceanologica Sinica 40.12 (2021): 39-49. ↩︎
  2. Łukowiak, Magdalena. “Utilizing sponge spicules in taxonomic, ecological and environmental reconstructions: a review.” PeerJ 8 (2020): e10601. ↩︎
  3. Chiolino, N., et al. “470 Celsius Packaging System for Silicon Carbide Electronics.” Additional Papers and Presentations 2021.HiTEC (2021): 000083-000088. ↩︎

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