Chocolate puffball sponge
Latrunculia (Latrunculia) austini
Suborder LATRUNCULINA [per Porifera Systema 2002; in Hadromerida by some]
Originally Described: Samaai, Gibbons, & Kelly 2006
Specimen Identification: William Austin, Bruce Ott
Habitat: BC; shallow
Photo Location: Egmont Point, Jervis Inlet
Photographer: Neil McDaniel
Habitat: subtidal, bedrock
Upload Date: January 23, 2012
Photo ID: #16035
Comments: Named in honour of BC sponge taxonomist Dr. William (Bill) Austin. This sponge is abundant at Merry Island and in Welcome Passage. Identified from specimen NM #68. Family Latrunculiidae.
Recently, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina discovered that the novel biomedical compounds of the demosponge, Latrunculia (Latunculia) austini show promise for treating cancer, particularly pancreatic cancer. They collected material from deep water in the eastern Gulf of Alaska, but are now in need of more material. There are two places in BC where this sponge has been located within diving depths. Another recently discovered species of Latrunculia yielded new discorhabdin compounds that exhibit significant antiviral activity against hepatitis C virus, antimalarial activity and antimicrobial effects against several AIDS-opportunistic pathogens.