provided by British Antarctic Survey
White and club shaped or branching, with a smooth surface. Homaxinella balfourensis is attached to the substrate by stolons or a root system and grows up to 1m high, with 10cm long branches
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Found on hard substrates? down to 550m from Sub-Antarctica to Continental Antarctica.
Homaxinella balfourensis grows relatively rapidly in comparison to other Antarctic sponges (although still very slowly by tropical sponge standards). It contains substances with antifreeze properties, and can defend itself to some extent against diatom fouling which might otherwise interfere with respiration and feeding. It is a suspension feeder and is preyed on by seastars.
Homaxinella balfourensis contains diatoms living within its cells, but their role is unclear.
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