Venus' Flower Basket


Venus' Flower Basket

Taxobox
name = Venus' Flower Basket



image_width = 200px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Porifera
classis = Hexactenellida
familia = Euplectellidae
genus = "Euplectella"
species = "E. aspergillum"
binomial = "Euplectella aspergillum"
binomial_authority = Owen, 1841

The Venus' Flower Basket, or "Euplectella aspergillum", is the only Hexactenellida in the phylum Porifera to be used in hobbyists' aquariums. This is because Hexactinellid sponges are mainly deep ocean sponges that are not suitable for domestic aquarium environments. In traditional Asian cultures, this particular sponge was given as a wedding gift due to the fact that certain bioluminescent shrimp tend to form a symbiosis with them. The sponge houses two small shrimp, a male and a female, who live out their lives inside the sponge. They breed, and when their offspring are tiny, the offspring escape to find a Venus Flower Basket of their own. The shrimp inside of the basket clean it, and in return, the basket provides food for the shrimp by trapping it in its fiberglass-like strands, and then releasing it into the body of the sponge for the shrimp. It is also speculated that the light given off by the sponge may attract other small organisms which the shrimp eat.

They were also extremely popular in Victorian England, and one could easily fetch five guineas, equivalent to over £500 today.

Bio-inspiration

optical fibers, and solar cells

The glassy fibers that attach the sponge to the ocean floor, 5-20 cm long and thin as human hair, are of interest to fiber optics researchers. The sponge extracts silicic acid from seawater and converts it into silica, then forms it into an elaborate skeleton of glass fibers. (Other sponges such as the orange puffball sponge can also produce glass biologically.) The current manufacturing process for optical fibers requires high temperatures and produces a brittle fiber. A low-temperature process for creating and arranging such fibers, inspired by sponges, could offer more control over the optical properties of the fibers. These nano-structures are also potentially useful for the creation of more efficient, low-cost solar cells.

material strength

these sponges skeletons have amazing geometric configurations, which have been extensively studied for their stiffness, yield strength, and minimal crack propagation. An aluminum tube (aluminum and glass have similar elastic modulus) of equal length, effective thickness, and radius, but homogeneously distributed, has 1/100th the stiffness

References

* [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/08/20/national1718EDT0670.DTL] "Glassy sponge has better fiber optics than man-made", William McCall, AP, August 20, 2003

* [http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0307843101v1.pdf] "Biological glass fibers: Correlation between optical and structural properties" Joanna Aizenberg et al. PNAS 2004

* [http://www.technologyreview.com/Nanotech/17726/] "Silicon and Sun," Kevin Bullis, Technology Review Nov./Dec. 2006


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Venus flower basket — noun see Venus s flower basket …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Venus's basket — Venus Ve nus, n. [L. Venus, eris, the goddess of love, the planet Venus.] 1. (Class. Myth.) The goddess of beauty and love, that is, beauty or love deified. [1913 Webster] 2. (Anat.) One of the planets, the second in order from the sun, its orbit …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • venus's-basket — ˈvēnəs(ə̇z)ˈ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ noun (plural venus s baskets) Usage: usually capitalized V : venus s flower basket …   Useful english dictionary

  • Venus's flower-basket — noun Date: 1872 any of several glass sponges (genus Euplectella) of the western Pacific and Indian oceans called also Venus flower basket …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Venus's flower basket — Venus Ve nus, n. [L. Venus, eris, the goddess of love, the planet Venus.] 1. (Class. Myth.) The goddess of beauty and love, that is, beauty or love deified. [1913 Webster] 2. (Anat.) One of the planets, the second in order from the sun, its orbit …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Venus's flower basket — a glass sponge of the genus Euplectella, inhabiting deep waters off the Philippines and Japan, having a cylindrical skeleton formed of an intricate latticework of siliceous spicules. [1870 75] * * * ▪ sponge       any of several sponges of the… …   Universalium

  • Venus's flower-basket — Euplectella Eu plec*tel la, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? well plaited; e y^ well + ? plaited.] (Zo[ o]l) A genus of elegant, glassy sponges, consisting of interwoven siliceous fibers, and growing in the form of a cornucopia; called also {Venus s flower… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • venus's-flower-basket — noun (plural venus s flower baskets) Usage: usually capitalized V : a delicate tubular or cornucopia shaped hexactinellid sponge (genus Euplectella) native to the East Indies and the eastern coast of Asia and having a skeleton of glassy… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Venus's flower basket — noun a deep sea sponge of the genus Euplectella, having an intricate skeleton of siliceous spicules …   Australian English dictionary

  • Venus's flower basket — noun a deep water marine sponge having a cylindrical skeleton of intricate glassy latticework; found in the waters of the East Indies and the eastern coast of Asia • Hypernyms: ↑glass sponge • Member Holonyms: ↑Euplectella, ↑genus Euplectella …   Useful english dictionary


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