Biodiversity Data Journal : Taxonomic Paper
Taxonomic Paper
Porifera of Greece: an updated checklist
expand article infoEleni Voultsiadou, Vasilis Gerovasileiou§, Nicolas Bailly§
‡ Department of Zoology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
§ Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Heraklion, Greece
Open Access



The checklist of Porifera of Greece was created in the framework of the Greek Taxon Information System (GTIS), an initiative of the LifeWatchGreece Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) that has resumed efforts to compile a complete checklist of species recorded from Greece. An updated checklist of Porifera was created on the basis of a list of the Aegean Demospongiae and Homoscleromorpha published one decade ago. All records of species known to occur in Greek waters were taxonomically validated and cross-checked for possible inaccuracies and omissions. Then, all recent publications were reviewed and the species recorded from 2006 to date were added to the list.

New information

The updated checklist of Porifera of Greece comprises 215 species, classified to 111 genera, 65 families, 24 orders, and 4 classes. In total, 34 new additions were made to the previous species list (8 Calcarea, 17 Demospongiae, 1 Hexactinellida, and 6 Homoscleromorpha) with Calcarea being listed for the first time from the area. The demosponge orders Poecilosclerida, Dictyoceratida, Tetractinellida, Haplosclerida, and Suberitida have the highest number of species covering 62% of the known Greek sponge species richness. It is worth mentioning that 8 species have been first described from Greek waters, 7 of which are considered endemic to this area. Our bibliographic overview also revealed knowledge gaps with regard to specific habitats typically rich in sponge diversity, and marine sectors of Greece.


Sponges, Demospongiae, Homoscleromorpha, Calcarea, Hexactinellida, Aegean Sea, Sea of Crete, Levantine Sea, Ionian Sea, Eastern Mediterranean


The history of sponge science is directly linked to Greek civilization, since the older written references to sponges are found in Homer’s Epics, and their scientific knowledge has been established by the Greek philosopher, and first marine biologist, Aristotle in his zoological works (Voultsiadou 2007).

In modern times, research on Porifera of the Greek seas started early in the 20th century with the study of bath sponges, i.e., the members of the family Spongiidae (Szymanski 1904, Arndt 1937). In the subsequent decades, up to the 1980s, a series of scattered records of sponge species followed, which can be traced either in faunistic papers (Pérès and Picard 1958, Tortonese 1947) or in more general works on Porifera (Topsent 1920, Vacelet 1969, Griessinger 1971, Pulitzer-Finali 1983).

The systematic research on Greek Porifera started in the 1990s when the Laboratory of Zoology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, presented a series of publications on the Aegean sponge taxonomy, ecology and biogeography. New species were described (Voultsiadou-Koukoura and van Soest 1991a, Voultsiadou-Koukoura and van Soest 1991b, Voultsiadou-Koukoura et al. 1991), species lists presented (Voultsiadou-Koukoura and Koukouras 1993, Voultsiadou-Koukoura and van Soest 1993), and the associations of sponges with other invertebrates investigated (Koukouras et al. 1996 and references therein). A checklist of all Aegean sponge species reported up to 2005 and an overview of the relevant literature was provided by Voultsiadou (2005a) and followed by two publications on the distribution of Aegean and Levantine Porifera in the Mediterranean context (Voultsiadou 2005b, Voultsiadou 2009).

The recent study of sponges in the Greek seas comprises taxonomic accounts, including molecular works (Kefalas and Castritsi-Catharios 2007, Kefalas and Castritsi-Catharios 2012, Vacelet et al. 2008, Dailianis et al. 2011), faunistic and ecological papers (Voultsiadou et al. 2010, Voultsiadou et al. 2011, Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou 2012, Bianchi et al. 2014), and records of species in publications focusing on particular sponge taxa (Ereskovsky et al. 2009).

The aforementioned literature addresses mainly the classes Demospongiae and Homoscleromorpha. No research on Hexactinellida of the Greek seas has been carried out (but see Boury-Esnault et al. 2014), while few species of Calcarea have been recorded mostly in general faunistic publications (e.g. Pansini et al. 2000, Gerovasileiou et al. 2015).

The aim of the present work was to present an updated, annotated checklist of Porifera of the Greek seas. For this purpose, older lists of the classes Demospongiae and Homoscleromorpha were updated according to the recent literature and taxonomic status, and a first attempt to provide a catalogue of Calcarea was made.

Materials and methods

The Checklist of Porifera of Greece (Suppl. material 1) was created in the framework of the Greek Taxon Information System (GTIS), an initiative of the LifeWatchGreece Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) that has resumed efforts to compile a complete checklist of all species reported from Greece (Bailly et al. 2016). In that publication, a methodology is described to produce Preliminary Checklists only. However, in the present case of Porifera, the status of the list for Greece was quite advanced, and the recent primary literature was exhaustively searched for this work: the present list is thus considered as an updated, annotated, and archived checklist.

The checklist of Demospongiae and Homoscleromorpha was constructed based on a previous inclusive list of the Aegean sponges published by Voultsiadou (2005a). A cross-checking of all species names was carried out and some names were updated according to the World Porifera Database (WPD) (Van Soest et al. 2016) which is part of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) initiative (WoRMS Editorial Board 2016). Four species [i.e. Cerbaris curvispiculifer (Carter, 1880), Oceanapia fistulosa (Bowerbank, 1873), Petrosia (Strongylophora) vansoesti Boury-Esnault, Pansini & Uriz, 1994, and Pseudosuberites hyalinus (Ridley & Dendy, 1886)] were deleted because their Mediterranean records have been considered invalid according to the WPD. Nine of the species mentioned in that list [i.e. Acarnus tortilis Topsent, 1892, Clathria (Clathria) coralloides (Scopoli, 1772), Cliona vermifera Hancock, 1867, Cliothosa hancocki (Topsent, 1888), Holoxea furtiva Topsent, 1892, Lissodendoryx (Anomodoryx) cavernosa (Topsent, 1892), Placospongia decorticans (Hanitsch, 1895), Rhabderemia topsenti van Soest & Hooper, 1993, and Timea mixta (Topsent, 1896)] were not included in the present checklist, since they have been to date reported only from the Turkish coast of the Aegean Sea, but not from the Greek waters. Then, all recent publications were reviewed and the species recorded from 2006 to date have been added to the list. The records of freshwater species from Greece were derived from the catalogue published by Pronzato and Manconi (2001).

Checklist of Porifera known to occur in Greek waters



Family Petrobionidae

Petrobiona massiliana Vacelet & Lévi, 1958


Family Clathrinidae

Clathrina clathrus (Miklucho-Maclay, 1868)

Clathrina blanca (Schmidt, 1864)

Family Leucettidae

Leucetta solida (Schmidt, 1862)


Family Grantiidae

Leucandra nausicaae (Schuffner, 1877)

Family Sycettidae

Sycon elegans (Bowerbank, 1845)

Sycon faulkneri Ilan, Gugel, Galil & Janussen, 2003

Sycon raphanus Schmidt, 1862



Family Agelasidae

Agelas oroides (Schmidt, 1864)

Family Hymerhabdiidae

Hymerhabdia intermedia Sarà & Siribelli, 1960

Prosuberites longispinus Topsent, 1893


Family Axinellidae

Axinella cannabina (Esper, 1794)

Axinella damicornis (Esper, 1794)

Axinella polypoides Schmidt, 1862

Axinella verrucosa (Esper, 1794)

Family Heteroxyidae

Didiscus stylifer Tsurnamal, 1969

Myrmekioderma spelaeum (Pulitzer-Finali, 1983)

Family Raspailiidae

Eurypon cinctum Sarà, 1960

Eurypon clavatum (Bowerbank, 1866)

Eurypon coronula (Bowerbank, 1874)

Eurypon major Sarà & Siribelli, 1960

Raspaciona aculeata (Johnston, 1842)

Raspailia (Raspailia) viminalis Schmidt, 1862

Family Stelligeridae

Paratimea pierantonii (Sarà, 1958)

Stelligera stuposa (Ellis & Solander, 1786)


Family Dictyonellidae

Acanthella acuta Schmidt, 1862

Dictyonella incisa (Schmidt, 1880)

Dictyonella marsilii (Topsent, 1893)

Dictyonella obtusa (Schmidt, 1862)

Dictyonella plicata (Schmidt, 1880)


Family Chondrillidae

Chondrilla nucula Schmidt, 1862

Thymosiopsis cuticulatus Vacelet & Perez, 1998

Family Halisarcidae

Halisarca dujardinii Johnston, 1842


Family Chondrosiidae

Chondrosia reniformis Nardo, 1847


Family Clionaidae

Cliona celata Grant, 1826

Cliona parenzani Corriero & Scalera-Liaci, 1997

Cliona rhodensis Rützler & Bromley, 1981

Cliona schmidtii (Ridley, 1881)

Cliona thoosina Topsent, 1888

Cliona viridis (Schmidt, 1862)

Spiroxya heteroclita Topsent, 1896

Family Spirastrellidae

Diplastrella bistellata (Schmidt, 1862)

Diplastrella ornata Rützler & Sarà, 1962

Spirastrella cunctatrix Schmidt, 1868


Family Darwinellidae

Aplysilla rosea (Barrois, 1876)

Dendrilla acantha Vacelet, 1958

Family Dictyodendrillidae

Spongionella pulchella (Sowerby, 1804)


Family Desmacellidae

Desmacella annexa Schmidt, 1870

Desmacella inornata (Bowerbank, 1866)


Family Dysideidae

Dysidea avara (Schmidt, 1862)

Dysidea fragilis (Montagu, 1814)

Dysidea incrustans (Schmidt, 1862)

Dysidea tupha (Martens, 1824)

Pleraplysilla spinifera (Schulze, 1879)

Family Irciniidae

Ircinia dendroides (Schmidt, 1862)

Ircinia oros (Schmidt, 1864)

Ircinia paucifilamentosa Vacelet, 1961

Ircinia retidermata Pulitzer-Finali & Pronzato, 1981

Ircinia variabilis (Schmidt, 1862)

Ircinia vestibulata (Szymanski, 1904)

Sarcotragus foetidus Schmidt, 1862

Sarcotragus pipetta (Schmidt, 1868)

Sarcotragus spinosulus Schmidt, 1862

Family Spongiidae

Coscinoderma sporadense Voultsiadou-Koukoura, van Soest & Koukouras, 1991

Hippospongia communis (Lamarck, 1814)

Spongia (Spongia) lamella (Schulze, 1879)

Spongia (Spongia) nitens (Schmidt, 1862)

Spongia (Spongia) officinalis Linnaeus, 1759

Spongia (Spongia) virgultosa (Schmidt, 1868)

Spongia (Spongia) zimocca Schmidt, 1862

Family Thorectidae

Cacospongia mollior Schmidt, 1862

Fasciospongia cavernosa (Schmidt, 1862)

Hyrtios collectrix (Schulze, 1880)

Scalarispongia scalaris (Schmidt, 1862)


Family Callyspongiidae

Callyspongia septimaniensis Griessinger, 1971

Siphonochalina expansa Sarà, 1960

Family Chalinidae

Dendroxea lenis (Topsent, 1892)

Haliclona (Gellius) dubia (Babic, 1922)

Haliclona (Gellius) fibulata (Schmidt, 1862)

Haliclona (Gellius) microsigma (Babic, 1922)

Haliclona (Halichoclona) fulva (Topsent, 1893)

Haliclona (Halichoclona) perlucida (Griessinger, 1971)

Haliclona (Haliclona) simulans (Johnston, 1842)

Haliclona (Reniera) aquaeductus (Schmidt, 1862)

Haliclona (Reniera) cinerea (Grant, 1826)

Haliclona (Reniera) cratera (Schmidt, 1862)

Haliclona (Reniera) mediterranea Griessinger, 1971

Haliclona (Reniera) subtilis Griessinger, 1971

Haliclona (Rhizoniera) rhizophora (Vacelet, 1969)

Haliclona (Rhizoniera) sarai (Pulitzer-Finali, 1969)

Haliclona (Soestella) implexa (Schmidt, 1868)

Haliclona (Soestella) mamillata (Griessinger, 1971)

Haliclona (Soestella) mucosa (Griessinger, 1971)

Family Niphatidae

Pachychalina rustica Schmidt, 1868

Family Petrosiidae

Petrosia (Petrosia) clavata (Esper, 1794)

Petrosia (Petrosia) ficiformis (Poiret, 1789)

Petrosia pulitzeri Pansini, 1996

Family Phloeodictyidae

Calyx nicaeensis (Risso, 1826)


Family Hamacanthidae

Hamacantha (Vomerula) falcula (Bowerbank, 1874)

Family Merliidae

Merlia normani Kirkpatrick, 1908


Family Coelosphaeridae

Forcepia (Leptolabis) luciensis (Topsent, 1888)

Lissodendoryx (Lissodendoryx) isodictyalis (Carter, 1882)

Family Crambeidae

Crambe crambe (Schmidt, 1862)

Family Crellidae

Crella (Pytheas) fusifera Sarà, 1969

Crella (Pytheas) sigmata Topsent, 1925

Family Esperiopsidae

Ulosa stuposa (Esper, 1794)

Ulosa tenellula Pulitzer-Finali, 1983

Family Hymedesmiidae

Hemimycale columella (Bowerbank, 1874)

Hymedesmia (Hymedesmia) pansa Bowerbank, 1882

Hymedesmia (Hymedesmia) peachii Bowerbank, 1882

Hymedesmia (Hymedesmia) simillima Lundbeck, 1910

Hymedesmia (Hymedesmia) versicolor (Topsent, 1893)

Phorbas fictitius (Bowerbank, 1866)

Phorbas posidoni Voultsiadou-Koukoura & van Soest, 1991

Phorbas tenacior (Topsent, 1925)

Phorbas topsenti Vacelet & Perez, 2008

Family Microcionidae

Antho (Antho) involvens (Schmidt, 1864)

Clathria (Clathria) toxistricta Topsent, 1925

Clathria (Clathria) toxistyla (Sarà, 1959)

Clathria (Clathria) toxivaria (Sarà, 1959)

Clathria (Microciona) cleistochela (Topsent, 1925)

Clathria (Microciona) gradalis Topsent, 1925

Clathria (Thalysias) jolicoeuri (Topsent, 1892)

Echinoclathria translata (Pulitzer-Finali, 1978)

Family Mycalidae

Mycale (Aegogropila) contarenii (Lieberkühn, 1859)

Mycale (Aegogropila) retifera Topsent, 1924

Mycale (Aegogropila) rotalis (Bowerbank, 1874)

Mycale (Aegogropila) syrinx (Schmidt, 1862)

Mycale (Aegogropila) tunicata (Schmidt, 1862)

Mycale (Carmia) macilenta (Bowerbank, 1866)

Mycale (Mycale) lingua (Bowerbank, 1866)

Mycale (Mycale) massa (Schmidt, 1862)

Mycale (Paresperella) serrulata Sarà & Siribelli, 1960

Family Myxillidae

Myxilla (Myxilla) rosacea (Lieberkühn, 1859)

Family Tedaniidae

Tedania (Tedania) anhelans (Vio in Olivi, 1792)


Family Polymastiidae

Tentorium levantinum Ilan, Gugel, Galil & Janussen, 2003

Weberella verrucosa Vacelet, 1960


Family Scopalinidae

Scopalina lophyropoda Schmidt, 1862


Family Spongillidae

Ephydatia fluviatilis (Linnaeus, 1759)

Eunapius carteri (Bowerbank, 1863)


Family Halichondriidae

Axinyssa aurantiaca (Schmidt, 1864)

Axinyssa michaelis Kefalas & Castritsi-Catharios, 2007

Halichondria (Halichondria) contorta (Sarà, 1961)

Halichondria (Halichondria) panicea (Pallas, 1766)

Hymeniacidon perlevis (Montagu, 1814)

Laminospongia subtilis Pulitzer-Finali, 1983

Spongosorites flavens Pulitzer-Finali, 1983

Spongosorites intricatus (Topsent, 1892)

Topsentia vaceleti Kefalas & Castritsi-Catharios, 2012

Family Stylocordylidae

Stylocordyla pellita (Topsent, 1904)

Family Suberitidae

Aaptos aaptos (Schmidt, 1864)

Aaptos papillata (Keller, 1880)

Protosuberites denhartogi van Soest & de Kluijver, 2003

Protosuberites ectyoninus (Topsent, 1900)

Protosuberites rugosus (Topsent, 1893)

Pseudosuberites sulphureus (Bowerbank, 1866)

Rhizaxinella pyrifera (Delle Chiaje, 1828)

Rhizaxinella shikmonae Ilan, Gugel, Galil & Janussen, 2003

Suberites carnosus (Johnston, 1842)

Suberites domuncula (Olivi, 1792)

Suberites ficus (Johnston, 1842)

Suberites massa Nardo, 1847

Suberites syringella (Schmidt, 1868)

Terpios gelatinosa (Bowerbank, 1866)


Family Hemiasterellidae

Hemiasterella aristoteliana Voultsiadou-Koukoura & van Soest, 1991

Family Tethyidae

Tethya aurantium (Pallas, 1766)

Tethya citrina Sarà & Melone, 1965

Family Timeidae

Timea chondrilloides (Topsent, 1904)

Timea geministellata Pulitzer-Finali, 1978

Timea stellata (Bowerbank, 1866)

Timea stellifasciata Sarà & Siribelli, 1960

Timea unistellata (Topsent, 1892)


Family Ancorinidae

Dercitus (Stoeba) plicatus (Schmidt, 1868)

Jaspis johnstonii (Schmidt, 1862)

Stelletta dorsigera Schmidt, 1864

Stelletta grubii Schmidt, 1862

Stelletta hispida (Buccich, 1886)

Stelletta mediterranea (Topsent, 1893)

Stelletta stellata Topsent, 1893

Stryphnus (Stryphnus) mucronatus (Schmidt, 1868)

Stryphnus (Stryphnus) ponderosus (Bowerbank, 1866)

Family Azoricidae

Leiodermatium (Leiodermatium) lynceus Schmidt, 1870

Family Calthropellidae

Calthropella (Calthropella) pathologica (Schmidt, 1868)

Calthropella (Corticellopsis) stelligera (Schmidt, 1868)

Family Geodiidae

Erylus discophorus (Schmidt, 1862)

Geodia conchilega Schmidt, 1862

Geodia cydonium (Jameson, 1811)

Penares euastrum (Schmidt, 1868)

Penares helleri (Schmidt, 1864)

Family Pachastrellidae

Pachastrella monilifera Schmidt, 1868

Family Samidae

Samus anonymus Gray, 1867

Family Tetillidae

Craniella cranium (Müller, 1776)

Family Theneidae

Thenea muricata (Bowerbank, 1858)

Family Theonellidae

Discodermia polymorpha Pisera & Vacelet, 2011

Family Thoosidae

Alectona millari Carter, 1879

Family Vulcanellidae

Poecillastra compressa (Bowerbank, 1866)

Vulcanella gracilis (Sollas, 1888)


Family Aplysinidae

Aplysina aerophoba (Nardo, 1833)

Aplysina cavernicola (Vacelet, 1959)

Family Ianthellidae

Hexadella pruvoti Topsent, 1896

Hexadella racovitzai Topsent, 1896



Family Rossellidae

Sympagella nux Schmidt, 1870



Family Oscarellidae

Oscarella balibaloi Pérez, Ivanisevic, Dubois, Pedel, Thomas, Tokina & Ereskovsky, 2011

Oscarella lobularis (Schmidt, 1862)

Oscarella microlobata Muricy, Boury-Esnault, Bézac & Vacelet, 1996

Oscarella tuberculata (Schmidt, 1868)

Pseudocorticium jarrei Boury-Esnault, Muricy, Gallissian & Vacelet, 1995

Family Plakinidae

Corticium candelabrum Schmidt, 1862

Plakina bowerbanki (Sarà, 1960)

Plakina dilopha Schulze, 1880

Plakina monolopha Schulze, 1880

Plakina trilopha Schulze, 1880

Plakina weinbergi Muricy, Boury-Esnault, Bézac & Vacelet, 1998

Plakinastrella copiosa Schulze, 1880

Plakortis simplex Schulze, 1880


A total of 215 species, classified to 111 genera, 65 families, 24 orders, and 4 classes makes the updated checklist of Porifera of Greece. Demosponges and Homoscleromorpha make up the bulk of Porifera of Greece, while only 8 species of Calcarea are listed for the first time from the area. As it can be seen from the list, the orders Poecilosclerida, Dictyoceratida, Tetractinellida, Haplosclerida, and Suberitida have the highest number of species comprising 62% of the known Greek sponge species richness.

The majority of species included in the present checklist were already known as elements of the Greek fauna (Voultsiadou 2005a), while 34 new additions were made in the course of this study (Table 1). These additions include 8 species of Calcarea, 17 species of Demospongiae, 1 species of Hexactinellida, and 6 species of Homoscleromorpha. Two more, freshwater species, Ephydatia fluviatilis and Eunapius carteri, were also added as elements of the Greek fauna.

Table 1.

Marine sponge species added by the present study (not included in the list given by Voultsiadou 2005a). For each species the publication mentioning its occurrence in the Greek seas is given.



Class Calcarea

Clathrina blanca (Miklucho-Maclay, 1868)

Longo and Pronzato (2011)

Clathrina clathrus (Schmidt, 1864)

Gerovasileiou et al. (2015)

Leucandra nausicaae (Schuffner, 1877)

Burton (1963)

Leucetta solida (Schmidt, 1862)

Pansini et al. (2000)

Sycon elegans (Bowerbank, 1845)

Gerovasileiou et al. (2015)

Sycon faulkneri Ilan, Gugel, Galil & Janussen, 2003

Ilan et al. (2003)

Sycon raphanus Schmidt, 1862

Tortonese (1947)

Petrobiona massiliana Vacelet & Lévi, 1958

Hermans et al. (2009)

Class Demospongiae

Axinyssa michaelis Kefalas & Castritsi-Catharios, 2007

Kefalas and Castritsi-Catharios (2007)

Clathria (Clathria) toxistricta Topsent, 1925

Voultsiadou et al. (2010)

Cliona parenzani Corriero & Scalera-Liaci, 1997

Vacelet et al. (2008)

Forcepia (Leptolabis) luciensis (Topsent, 1888)

Voultsiadou et al. (2010)

Haliclona (Gellius) microsigma (Babic, 1922)

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Haliclona (Halichoclona) perlucida (Griessinger, 1971)

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Hexadella pruvoti Topsent, 1896

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Hexadella racovitzai Topsent, 1896

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Hymedesmia (Hymedesmia) pansa Bowerbank, 1882

Voultsiadou et al. (2010)

Hyrtios collectrix (Schulze, 1880)

Voultsiadou et al. (2010)

Ircinia retidermata Pulitzer-Finali & Pronzato, 1981

Bianchi et al. (2014)

Petrosia pulitzeri Pansini, 1996

Pansini (1996)

Protosuberites rugosus (Topsent, 1893)

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Rhizaxinella sikmonae Ilan, Gugel, Galil & Janussen, 2003

Ilan et al. (2003)

Tentorium levantinum Ilan, Gugel, Galil & Janussen, 2003

Ilan et al. (2003)

Thymosiopsis cuticulatus Vacelet & Perez, 1998

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Topsentia vaceleti Kefalas & Castritsi-Catharios, 2012

Kefalas and Castritsi-Catharios (2012)

Class Hexactinellida

Sympagella nux Schmidt, 1870

See Boury-Esnault et al. (2014)

Class Homoscleromorpha

Oscarella balibaloi Pérez et al., 2011

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Oscarella microlobata Muricy et al., 1996

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Oscarella tuberculata (Schmidt, 1868)

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Plakina bowerbanki (Sarà, 1960)

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

Plakina weinbergi Muricy et al., 1998

Ereskovsky et al. (2009)

Pseudocorticium jarrei Boury-Esnault et al., 1995

Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou (2012)

It is worth mentioning that 8 of the species included in the list (Axinyssa michaelis, Coscinoderma sporadense, Hemiasterella aristoteliana, Ircinia paucifilamentosa, Leucandra nausicaae, Petrosia pulitzeri, Phorbas posidoni, and Topsentia vaceleti) have been first described from Greek waters. All except one (P. pulitzeri) are considered endemic to this area, since they have not been yet reported elsewhere. A number of species, endemic to the eastern Mediterranean, have been also recorded in Greek waters, such as the deep-sea sponges Sycon faulkneri, Rhizaxinella shikmonae, and Tentorium levantinum, which were described from the Levantine, but were also recorded from the Sea of Crete and Sporades Basin by Ilan et al. (2003). Interestingly, most of the aforementioned species were found in dimly lit habitats which can be sponge-dominated (Gerovasileiou and Voultsiadou 2012), such as marine caves, coralligenous beds, and the bathyal zone, highlighting the need for further research to reveal the unknown diversity in these environments.

The list of sponges of Greece compiled for the needs of the present study is the most comprehensive list of Porifera in the Eastern Mediterranean. There is another list presenting 131 sponge species from the Turkish coasts (Topaloğlu and Evcen 2014) and various scattered sources of information on the sponges of the remaining Levantine coasts (see Voultsiadou 2005b). However, a major gap of our knowledge on the sponge species richness from the Greek seas is obvious since practically the entire bibliography on Greek sponges concerns the Aegean Sea, while very few and scattered information is available from the Ionian coasts of Greece (e.g. Schuffner 1877, Laborel 1960). Finally, it should be mentioned that several species reported from the Turkish coasts of the Aegean have not been yet found in Greek waters. Given that both Turkish and Greek coasts are part of the broader ecoregion of the Aegean Archipelago (Spalding et al. 2007), it is reasonable to assume that it is a matter of time before these species are recorded as elements of the Greek fauna as well.


This work was supported by the LifeWatchGreece infrastructure (MIS 384676), funded by the Greek Government under the General Secretariat of Research and Technology (GSRT), ESFRI Projects, National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF). We would like to thank Thanos Dailianis for his constructive comments.


Supplementary material

Suppl. material 1: Checklist of Porifera of Greece 
Authors:  Eleni Voultsiadou, Vasilis Gerovasileiou, Nicolas Bailly
Data type:  Taxonomic checklist
Brief description: 

Taxonomic checklist of Porifera known to occur in Greek waters.