The amazing detail there is to see underwater is incredible. This little Pink Vase Sponge (Niphates digitalis) would be easy to swim past and over-look, only an inch or so in diameter. On closer inspection you can see its surface is covered with tiny Sponge Zoanthids, tiny little filter feeding creatures closely related to corals. This particular image was taken while diving in the Bahamas, although these sponges and their parasitic comrades are common throughout the Caribbean.
This little sponge is a great example of marine species providing inspiration for medical science. Compounds extracted from the pink vase sponge have been isolated that may be of use for treating prostate cancer, along with an alkaloid that is used as a catalyst in organic chemistry. Uses within the medical industry are a great way to promote the need for coral reef conservation efforts, so good work Pink Vase Sponge!
Originally posted on Instagram @sea_anguilla with the text: A Pink Vase Sponge with its exterior covered by tiny Sponge Zooanthids. Often overlooked, these creatures are wonderfully detailed and beautiful in close up. In Anguilla sponges are most common along the northern coast, eapecially in areas close to Limestone Bay. The variation of different designs is extraordinary.