Demospongea (Order: Monaxonida)
Ulospongiella is considered a primitive demosponge (Rigby, 1986). Demosponges, the same group that are harvested as bath sponges, represent the largest class of sponges today.
Rigby and Collins
Ulospongiella – from the Greek oulus, “wooly or curly,” and spongia, “sponge.” The name refers to the curled or curved spicules forming the skeleton.
ancyla – from the Greek anklyos, “bent or hooked.” The name makes reference to the curved spicules.
Holotype –ROM43830 (wrongly referred asROM48830 in Rigby and Collins 2004) in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.
Burgess Shale and vicinity: none.
Other deposits: none.
Middle Cambrian, Bathyuriscus-Elrathina Zone (approximately 505 million years ago).
The Trilobite Beds on Mount Stephen.
Brief history of research:
Ulospongiella was described by Rigby and Collins in 2004 based on collections made by the Royal Ontario Museum.
Ulospongiella is a small sponge less than 2 cm in height. Its shape is subcyclindrical with a rounded base. Most spicules forming the skeleton are pointed at both ends (oxeas). These oxeas are strongly curved or hooked shape and form a relatively dense mesh. A few coarser and longer spicules with a round base extend upward from the wall. There is no clear indication of canals within the sponge there is no evidence of a central cavity (spongocoel).
Only three specimens are known, all from the Trilobite Beds.
Ulospongiella would have lived attached to the sea floor. Particles of organic matter were extracted from the water as they passed through canals in the sponge’s wall.