Splendid Sponges (Intertidal)

An interactive guide to the intertidal sponges of New Zealand.

Sponges are the most common marine invertebrates that inhabit the New Zealand coastline and harbours, from the intertidal zone down to the continental shelf, deep ocean trenches, and abyssal plains. They are a magnificent and very diverse group of sea creatures. Now you can identify the most commonly encountered sponges in intertidal habitats around the country, starting with Auckland, with Splendid sponges (Intertidal), a fully illustrated interactive pdf with high-quality images of the animals in life. Just click on an image in the morphology index and you will be taken to a species page packed with information, beautiful images, and icons to simplify identification. New intertidal species from other locations will be added over time, so please send us your images to be considered for up and coming versions! 

Splendid Sponges (Intertidal) ID Guide [PDF 9.9 MB]

Front cover of NIWA e-guide Spendid Sponges (Intertidal) Version 1.0


Ciocalypta polymastia  is typically common in the intertidal zone in muddy sandy areas such as harbours and sheltered bays on the west and east coasts of the North Island, but also reported from sandy shell hash around the base of rocky reefs and in channels in the subtidal down to about 30m. [Photo: Bruce Hayward, GNS]  
Haliclona venustina is a relatively common intertidal sponge encrusting mudstone, oysters, bryozoans and tubeworms around the Auckland isthmus. [Photo: Nicola Rush, NIWA]