sponge


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sponge,

common name for members of the aquatic animal phylum PoriferaPorifera
[Lat.,=pore bearer], animal phylum consisting of the organisms commonly called sponges. It is the only phylum of the animal subkingdom Parazoa and represents the least evolutionarily advanced group of the animal kingdom.
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, and for the dried, processed skeletons of certain species used to hold water. Over 4,500 living species are known; they are found throughout the world, especially in shallow temperate waters. All are marine except the members of six freshwater families.

Adult sponges are sessile, attaching themselves to rocks, coral, shells, and other substrates. They show so little movement that until the 18th cent. naturalists considered them plants. Most adults are colonial. Sexual reproduction gives rise to a free-swimming larva, which soon settles on a suitable substrate and develops into the adult form. Asexual reproduction also occurs. The individual sponge is saclike in construction; water is drawn into its central cavity through many tiny holes in the body wall and expelled through a large opening at the top of the body. Hard materials of various kinds, depending on the type of sponge, are imbedded in the body wall, forming a skeleton. A colony consists of a mass of many such individuals.

Solitary sponges and colonies range in diameter from about 1-2 in. to 5 ft (1–150 cm) and vary greatly in shape. Some are branched, some more or less globular, and some are thin encrustations on rocks and pilings. Brilliantly colored sponges are common. Bath sponges are the skeletons of certain colonial sponges. These skeletons are composed of a fibrous meshwork of spongin, a material related to horn, and owe their absorbent properties to the fineness of the mesh.

Sponges have been used to hold liquid since ancient times. The ancient Greeks used them for bathing and scrubbing, and Roman soldiers used them for drinking. Commercial sponges, species of the genera Spongia and Hippospongia, are harvested principally in the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas and off the Florida coast. They are brought up by divers in deep water, or raked in with long-handled forks in shallow water. They are left in water until the living tissue rots away; the skeletons are then cleaned and dried and sometimes bleached. Sponge fishing has declined in recent decades due to the use of synthetic sponges and to a decline in the population of commercially valuable natural sponges. The block-shaped sponges now commonly sold are the synthetic product. Dried natural sponges are light gray or brown and irregular in shape.

sponge

[spənj]
(chemical engineering)
Wood shavings coated with iron oxide and used as a catalyst in processes for removing hydrogen sulfide from industrial gases.
(invertebrate zoology)
The common name for members of the phylum Porifera.

sponge

1. any multicellular typically marine animal of the phylum Porifera, usually occurring in complex sessile colonies in which the porous body is supported by a fibrous, calcareous, or siliceous skeletal framework
2. a piece of the light porous highly absorbent elastic skeleton of certain sponges, used in bathing, cleaning, etc.
3. any of a number of light porous elastic materials resembling a sponge
4. porous metal produced by electrolysis or by reducing a metal compound without fusion or sintering and capable of absorbing large quantities of gas

sponge

A special case of a Unix filter that reads its entire input before writing any output; the canonical example is a sort utility. Unlike most filters, a sponge can conveniently overwrite the input file with the output data stream. If a file system has file versioning (as ITS did and VMS does now) the sponge/filter distinction loses its usefulness, because directing filter output would just write a new version.

See also slurp.
References in classic literature ?
Rochester put the now bloody sponge into my hand, and I proceeded to use it as he had done.
Take it easy, take it easy; keep away; let him come after you," implores East, as he wipes Tom's face after the first round with a wet sponge, while he sits back on Martin's knee, supported by the Madman's long arms which tremble a little from excitement.
Tom's face begins to look very one-sided--there are little queer bumps on his forehead, and his mouth is bleeding; but East keeps the wet sponge going so scientifically that he comes up looking as fresh and bright as ever.
Brooke can't find it in his heart to stop them just yet, so the round goes on, the Slogger waiting for Tom, and reserving all his strength to hit him out should he come in for the wrestling dodge again, for he feels that that must be stopped, or his sponge will soon go up in the air.
Meantime East is freshening up Tom with the sponges for next round, and has set two other boys to rub his hands.
East can't help shouting challenges to two or three of the other side, though he never leaves Tom for a moment, and plies the sponges as fast as ever.
I don't want to sponge on you too much," he went on, "but if you're really going to stick it out and try and get there, I'd like to go on, too.
Gradgrind, in his Observatory (and there are many like it), had no need to cast an eye upon the teeming myriads of human beings around him, but could settle all their destinies on a slate, and wipe out all their tears with one dirty little bit of sponge.
The streams under the furnaces gave out to the sponges of platina a heat which was regularly kept up and distributed.
There must have been some mention in it of the tremendous combat with wet sponges I saw there one day between two of the boys who hurled them back and forth at each other.
The Peddler saw through his trick and drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought a cargo of sponges instead of salt.
Models of cannon, bronze castings, sights covered with dents, plates battered by the shots of the Gun Club, assortments of rammers and sponges, chaplets of shells, wreaths of projectiles, garlands of howitzers-- in short, all the apparatus of the artillerist, enchanted the eye by this wonderful arrangement and induced a kind of belief that their real purpose was ornamental rather than deadly.