Purple sponge sea creature found off Cromer is brand-new species

PUBLISHED: 04:00 10 October 2011 | UPDATED: 08:44 10 October 2011

NEW SPECIES: The previously unrecorded sponge Hymedesmia, found on a chalk reef off Sheringham. Picture: ROB SPRAY

NEW SPECIES: The previously unrecorded sponge Hymedesmia, found on a chalk reef off Sheringham. Picture: ROB SPRAY

It’s purple, it’s slimy, it lives off the Norfolk coast - and it’s got international marine scientists very excited.

No, not the creature from the black lagoon but the sponge Hymedesmia - now officially declared as a brand new species of sea creature.

The sponge was found off Sheringham on a 20-mile underwater chalk reef which is the longest in Europe and is now regarded as a fragile eco-system of international importance.

The discovery came during a Wildlife Trusts’ survey of the entire East Coast, from Essex to Northumberland, carried out during National Marine Week in August.

Altogether 352 species of marine wildlife were found including 126 seaweeds, several of them previously unrecorded.

The sponge, which feeds on small particles in the water, has been identified by expert Dr Claire Goodwin of the National Museums of Northern Ireland who said that because the reef is unusually made of chalk there could be other “new” sponge species living there.

A TV documentary telling how Hymedesmia was discovered will be shown tonight, Monday, on BBC1 at 7.30pm.


  • Do not fall for it EDP. yes it might be a new species but all these media feeds could end up in Cromer fishermen being banned from fishing over the reef where they have fished for centuries. The scientists and diving groups and wildlife organisations behind this "discovery" ( I thought Percy Trett wrote about it years ago) would like a " no take" order to supposedly protect something that seems to have been doing ok up til now.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, October 10, 2011

  • I thought it looked like that thingy that the puppet man uses, maybe he's discarded it and gone up market with a new hand thingy??

    Report this comment


    Monday, October 10, 2011

  • It is not a new species. It has been there all the time. It was a undiscovered species which has now been discovered and is a new species to science, that is if it is a newly discovered species.

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    Monday, October 10, 2011

  • Here we go again,it may be a new species to scientists but i have been pulling it up on my pots and anchors for years as have all the other fisherman.Its a shame this wonderful reef that has never been harmed in all the years it has been fished is now in danger from the thieving hands of divers who love to take pieces home for the mantlepiece

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    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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