Re: Doris odhneri feeding

July 11, 2007
From: Dave Behrens

Concerning message #19273:

Hi Bill:
From what I can find in the literature, Jan is correct. Morris, Abbott & Haderlie (1980), Gotshall (2005), and the newly published "The Sponges of California" (Lee, Elvin and Reiswig, 2007) all call it Haliclona sp. Interestingly, Lamb & Hanby (2005) do not include it.


Behrens, D.W., 2007 (Jul 11) Re: Doris odhneri feeding. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Dave,
I guess after just trying to sort out published sponge indentifications for my review of feeding in the chromodorids recently, I have been shocked at how often sponges are misidentified in the literature. Sometimes it is because a species was misidentified 100 years ago and the error has been repeated over generations, sometimes it is a recent error by a book publisher in search of a name, but in most cases it is a reflection of how few sponge taxonomists there are and how much work still needs to be done.

Often its not just a simple misidentification, but a complicated nomenclatural or taxonomic problem - for example a species may have been originally placed in the wrong genus and the error has never been corrected, so even though it has always been called Tethya xus for example, it may really be in a different family. That is not to say that the books you cite are all full of errors - I have no idea .. but I suspect that if sponge taxonomy on the Nth American west coast is like most sponge taxonomy, then there is a possibility that identifications based on 'tradition' and 'common usage' and not based on recent research and revisions could prove to be wrong. Which leaves us non-experts with a problem.
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2007 (Jul 11). Comment on Re: Doris odhneri feeding by Dave Behrens. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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