The Natural Sea Sponges Company

Your reliable wholesale supplier of natural sponges

What is a sea sponge?

Sponges are simple animals that lack tissues and organs,found in marine environments, attached to rocks on the seabed.They have been around for a very long time ,over 600 millions of years. They are characterised by a porous body structure with numerous channels and chambers that allow water to flow through them. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colours.

Sea sponges are living organisms. They lack organs and true tissues but possess specialised cells that perform various functions such as feeding, reproduction, and structural support. Water is drawn into the sponge through tiny pores called ostia, where food particles and oxygen are filtered out. The filtered water is then expelled through larger openings called the oscula.

What is a sea sponge?

Quick questions and answers

-What are sponges made of?

The main structural component of sea sponges is a flexible protein called spongin, similar to collagen. Spongin provides the sponge with its shape and flexibility. In addition to spongin, sea sponges also have a skeleton made of mineralized structures called spicules.

-Scientific name of sea sponges?

Sea sponges constitute the phylum Porifera ,which includes more than 8000 living sponge species.The phylum name Porifera means pore-bearing. Sponges take their name from small holes that cover their bodies.

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Sea sponges anatomy and structure

Sea sponges do not have a backbone, the body of a sponge is supported by a skeleton made of either calcium carbonate or a flexible protein called spongin. The most important structure is the system of canals and channels through which water circulates to bring food and oxygen to the sponge.

Do sea sponges have brains?

Sponges lack anything resembling brains; instead, sponges contain cells that have some of the capabilities of neurons.

Sea sponge digestive system: Sponges lack a complex digestive system,their food is trapped as water passes through the system of canals and channels of their body.

Ocean sponges eyes - Do sea sponges see?

Sea sponges, despite their fascinating biology, do not have eyes or any sensory organs resembling those found in animals with vision. They lack nervous systems and specialised sensory structures, such as eyes, that enable sight.

Sea sponge lifespan

Sea sponge lifespan varies by species and environment. While some,in shallow marine environments , live only a few years, others, like deep-sea sponges, may endure for centuries. Factors such as predation, competition, and habitat disturbance influence their lifespans.

What does a sea sponge eat?

Sea sponges are filter feeders, which means they primarily feed on tiny particles suspended in the water. These particles can include bacteria, plankton, detritus, and organic matter. Sea sponges have specialised cells lining their internal cavities,these cells have flagella (whip-like structures) that create currents, drawing water into the sponge's body through small pores.

As water passes through the sponge's body, food particles are captured from the water column and direct them into their cell bodies for digestion. The nutrients derived from these particles are then distributed throughout the sponge's body to sustain its metabolic functions and growth.

Essentially, sea sponges filter organic particles from the water, utilising them as a food source. This feeding strategy not only provides sustenance for the sponge but also helps to filter and clean the surrounding marine environment.

Do sea sponges move?

Sea sponges are generally considered sessile organisms, meaning they are permanently attached to a substrate and do not move from place to place in the same way that many animals do. Once a sea sponge settles and attaches itself to a suitable surface, it remains anchored in that location for the rest of its life.Overall, while sea sponges are primarily sessile organisms, they may display some limited forms of movement or dispersal during specific stages of their life cycle or in response to environmental cues.

Sponge respiratory system

Sea sponges possess a unique respiratory system adapted to their aquatic lifestyle.

Respiration in sponges primarily occurs through diffusion. Oxygen from the surrounding water diffuses across the sponge's body surface into specialised cells These cells line the inner cavities of the sponge and are equipped with whip-like structures that create water currents.This flow of water allows for efficient exchange of gases, with oxygen entering the sponge and carbon dioxide, a waste product of cellular respiration, being released back into the water.

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How do sponges reproduce sexually?

Sea sponges reproduce sexually through a process that involves the release of specialised reproductive cells and the fusion of gametes from different individuals. The sexual reproduction of sea sponges typically involves the following steps:

-Gamete Production: Sea sponges are hermaphroditic, meaning they produce both eggs (female gametes) and sperm (male gametes) within their bodies.

-Sperm Release: Mature sperm cells are released into the water through the oscula, which are large openings on the surface of the sponge through which water exits.

-Egg Capture: Once released into the water, sperm cells must find their way to other sponges for fertilisation to occur. This process typically involves water currents carrying the sperm cells to nearby sponges.

-Fertilisation: If a sperm cell successfully encounters an egg cell from another sponge, fertilisation occurs.Fertilization can happen either within the sponge's body or in the surrounding water. Once fertilised, the egg develops into a larval stage.

-Larval Dispersal: The parenchymella larva is released into the water column, where it may disperse over a wide area. During this dispersal phase, the larva is typically free-swimming and may be carried by ocean currents. This dispersal mechanism allows for the colonisation of new habitats and the establishment of new sponge colonies.

Settlement and Metamorphosis: Eventually, the larva settles onto a suitable substrate and undergoes metamorphosis into a juvenile sponge.

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Sponges in the sea

The habitat of sea sponges and their role in marine environment

Sea sponges inhabit various marine environments worldwide, from shallow coastal waters to deep-sea habitats. They are commonly found attached to hard substrates such as rocks, coral reefs, shells, and even the seabed itself.

Sponges in the sea

Sea sponges play crucial roles in marine ecosystems:

Filter Feeding: Sea sponges are filter feeders, meaning they actively pump water through their bodies to capture microscopic food particles suspended in the water column. This process helps to maintain water clarity by removing organic debris and planktonic organisms, contributing to the overall health of the ecosystem.

Habitat and Shelter: The complex structure of sea sponges provides habitat and shelter for a variety of marine organisms , such as crustaceans and mollusks. This makes sea sponges important contributors to biodiversity in marine ecosystems.

Coral Reef Stability: In coral reef ecosystems, certain sponge species play a role in reef stability. By binding sediments and providing a substrate for other organisms to settle on, sponges help build and maintain the structural integrity of coral reefs.

Nutrient Cycling: Sea sponges participate in nutrient cycling within marine environments. They absorb dissolved organic matter and nutrients from the water, which are then incorporated into their tissues.

Biomedical Potential: Sea sponges produce a wide variety of bioactive compounds, some of which have potential pharmaceutical applications. These compounds include antibacterial, antiviral, and anticancer agents. Researchers are exploring the biomedical potential of sea sponge-derived compounds for drug discovery and development.

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Sea sponges and biotechnology

Sea sponges have garnered significant interest in biotechnology due to their unique biological features and chemical composition. Here's how sea sponges are contributing to various biotechnological applications:

Drug Discovery: Sea sponges produce a wide array of bioactive compounds, including alkaloids, terpenes, and peptides, as a defence mechanism against predators and pathogens. These compounds have shown potential in pharmaceutical research for developing new drugs to treat various diseases, including cancer, infections, and inflammation. For example, the drug Ara-C, used in leukaemia treatment, was originally isolated from a Caribbean sponge species.

Biomedical Materials: Sponges' skeletal structures, composed of natural fibres such as spongin or spicules made of silica or calcium carbonate, have inspired the development of biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Bioremediation: Some sea sponges harbour symbiotic microorganisms capable of degrading environmental pollutants, such as hydrocarbons and heavy metals, through bioremediation processes. Scientists are investigating the potential of these sponge-associated microbes for cleaning up contaminated marine ecosystems and mitigating environmental pollution.

Marine Bioprospecting: Marine organisms, including sea sponges, represent a vast and largely untapped source of novel bioactive compounds with potential applications in biotechnology and medicine.

Biological Models: Sea sponges serve as valuable model organisms for studying various biological processes, including symbiosis, regeneration, and immunity.

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Sponge farming

Sponge farming, also known as sponge aquaculture, involves the cultivation of sea sponges for commercial purposes. This practice has gained attention due to the potential economic benefits and the sustainable production of natural sponges. Sponge farming typically involves the following steps:

Site Selection:Coastal areas with clean water and appropriate environmental conditions are often preferred for sponge cultivation.

Collection of Wild Specimens or Propagation: Depending on the species, sponge farming may involve collecting wild specimens from natural populations or propagating sponges from cultured fragments or larvae.

Sponge Nursery: Cultured sponge fragments or larvae are typically grown in a nursery environment until they reach a suitable size for transplantation. Nursery facilities may include tanks or containers with controlled water flow, temperature, and nutrient levels to optimise sponge growth.

Transplantation: Once the sponges have reached a certain size, they are transplanted onto suitable substrates in the farming area. Substrates may include ropes, frames, or artificial structures designed to support sponge growth.

Maintenance and Management: Sponge farms require regular maintenance and management to ensure optimal growth and health of the cultured sponges.

Harvesting: Depending on the species and market demand, sponges may be harvested once they reach a certain size and maturity.
Sponge farming offers potential benefits such as sustainable harvesting of natural resources, job creation, and economic development in coastal communities.

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History of diving for sponges and harvesting

Ancient Origins: Sponge diving has ancient roots, with historical records indicating its practice in the Mediterranean region as early as 3000 BCE. Ancient civilizations, including the Minoans and Egyptians, utilised sea sponges for various purposes, such as bathing, cleaning, and even as padding in helmets and armour.

History of diving for sponges and harvesting

Greek and Roman Period: Sponge diving flourished in ancient Greece and Rome, where sea sponges were highly valued commodities. Greek sponge divers, known as "kaïkiádes," were skilled artisans who harvested sponges using rudimentary diving techniques. Sponge diving became an integral part of the economy in regions such as the Aegean islands and coastal areas of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Middle Ages and Renaissance: Sponge diving continued throughout the Middle Ages, with Byzantine and Venetian merchants dominating the trade in sea sponges. During the Renaissance, demand for sea sponges increased in Europe, leading to expanded harvesting efforts in the Mediterranean.

19th Century Expansion: The 19th century saw a surge in sponge diving activity, particularly in regions like the Greek islands. Improved diving techniques, such as the use of diving helmets and weighted suits, enabled divers to reach greater depths and harvest sponges more efficiently. Sponge diving became a lucrative profession, attracting divers from various Mediterranean communities.

Industrialization and Decline: The late 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed the industrialization of sponge diving, with the introduction of mechanised diving equipment and diving suits powered by air compressors. This technological advancement revolutionised the sponge industry, allowing divers to harvest sponges from deeper waters. However, competition from synthetic alternatives led to a decline in sponge populations and the collapse of the sponge industry in some regions.

Contemporary Practices: Despite the challenges, sponge diving continues in some traditional sponge fishing communities, albeit on a smaller scale. Efforts to promote sustainable harvesting practices and protect marine ecosystems have gained momentum, with initiatives aimed at conserving sponge populations and preserving the cultural heritage associated with sponge diving.

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Types of sea sponges

Types of sea sponges used for bathing and painting.

There are over 8000 types of ocean sponges and from them only around ten types are used for bathing, cleaning or painting purposes:

Mediterranean Honeycomb

The Mediterranean honeycomb sea sponge, or Spongia officinalis, is coveted for its soft, luxurious texture. Ideal for bathing, its intricate honeycomb structure creates a rich lather and gentle exfoliation. Harvested in the Greek Aegean sea and north coast of East Africa, considered the "King of sponges", ideal for bath and shower.
Perfect for daily skincare routines, it leaves the skin feeling pampered and refreshed.

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Mediterranean Fino Silk

The Mediterranean Fino Silk sea sponge, harvested mainly in Greek waters, is renowned for its fine, velvety texture. Its delicate fibres make it perfect for sensitive skin, providing gentle cleansing and exfoliation. Preferred for face care, bathing and menstrual use. it's prized for its luxurious feel and durability with unique characteristics, rare and pricey.

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Caribbean Grass 

The Caribbean Grass Sea Sponge,harvested in coastal waters of Gulf of Mexico, Cuba and Bahamas.Its fibrous structure makes it ideal for exfoliating and cleansing the skin, with an affordable price. Used in bath sponges, its natural texture gently removes dead skin cells, leaving the skin smooth and refreshed. Additionally, it's valued in arts and crafts for painting, pottery, and decorative purposes.

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Caribbean ocean fina sponge

The Ocean fina sea sponge, harvested in coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas, is a durable marine sponge species prized for its tough, fibrous texture. Commonly used in bath sponges, its resilient structure provides excellent exfoliation and lathering properties.

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Caribbean wool sea sponges

Maybe the best ocean sponge for bathing for all types harvested in the Atlantic ocean, but with a lower quality and durability than Mediterranean sea sponges.

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The journey of sea sponges, from the boat to being ready for use, involves several steps:

Harvesting: Sea sponges are typically harvested by divers using specialised equipment such as nets, knives, or scissors. Divers carefully select sponges from the ocean floor, ensuring sustainable harvesting practices to preserve sponge populations and marine ecosystems.

Cleaning and Processing: Once harvested, sea sponges are cleaned to remove any debris, organisms, or sediment that may be clinging to them. This process usually involves rinsing the sponges in seawater or freshwater and gently scrubbing them to remove impurities.

Drying: After cleaning, the sea sponges are laid out to dry in the sun or in a well-ventilated area. Drying helps to remove excess moisture and prevents the growth of mould or bacteria.

Trimming and Shaping: Depending on the intended use, sea sponges may be trimmed and shaped to achieve the desired size and shape,by hand, using scissors.

Turning natural brown colour to yellow: Some clients prefer sponges with yellow colour,which is achieved, with the same traditional method used in Greece the last few hundred years, using household substances of the old times, like lime.

Quality Control: Once trimmed and shaped, the sea sponges undergo quality control inspections to ensure they meet the desired standards for texture, appearance, and overall quality. Any sponges that do not meet the criteria may be discarded or sent for further processing.

Overall, the process of preparing sea sponges for use involves careful handling, cleaning, shaping, and quality control to ensure that the final product meets the standards for performance and appearance.

The porous structure of sea sponges creates a luxurious lather when paired with your favourite soap or body wash, ensuring a thorough and invigorating cleanse with every use. Main attributes of bath natural sponges are:

Gentle Exfoliation: Natural sea sponges provide gentle exfoliation, helping to remove dead skin cells and impurities from the skin's surface.

Soft and Gentle: Sea sponges are soft and gentle on the skin, making them suitable for sensitive areas

Absorbent: Natural sea sponges are highly absorbent, making them effective for cleansing and absorbing excess moisture from the skin. 
Hygienic: Sea sponges naturally inhibit the growth of bacteria and mould, making them a hygienic option for personal hygiene.

Eco-Friendly: Harvested sustainably from the ocean, natural sea sponges are an eco-friendly biodegradable alternative to synthetic sponges and loofahs.

Hypoallergenic: Sea sponges are naturally hypoallergenic, making them suitable for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies. They do not contain harsh chemicals or synthetic materials that can irritate the skin.

Longevity: With proper care, natural sea sponges can last for a long time, providing excellent value for money. They are durable and resilient, making them a cost-effective option for personal hygiene.

Ideal types of sea sponges for bathing are Mediterranean types of Honeycomb and Fino silk and the economical Caribbean grass type.

Sea sponge for face

Natural sea sponges are the ideal face cleansing sponges , they also provide a smooth and even application of makeup products, including foundation, concealer, and blush. Can be used, multiple times, with a variety of makeup formulations, including liquids, creams, and powders and suitable for applying foundation, blending contour, and creating airbrushed effects, making them a versatile tool in any makeup routine.

Natural sea sponges are naturally resistant to bacteria and mould, making them a hygienic option for makeup application. They can be cleaned easily with soap and water between uses to prevent the buildup of germs and bacteria.

Ideal sea sponge for cosmetics is Mediterranean fino silk sponge and the Fina ocean silk type, which are less porous and smoother therefore giving a fantastic finishing touch to your cosmetic routine.

Sea sponges Menstrual

Sea sponges are gaining attention as a natural alternative for menstrual hygiene. Reusable and  eco-friendly they offer a sustainable option for managing periods. These soft, durable and absorbent sponges are inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual flow, providing leak-proof protection and comfort. With proper care, they can be washed and reused, for up to six months or more,reducing waste and environmental impact. Ideal sea sponge types for sea sponge tampons are fina silk and fina ocean  types.


Natural sea sponges impart a distinctive texture to ceramic surfaces, adding depth and character to your creations. Unlike synthetic sponges that can leave behind residue or streaks, natural sea sponges, elephant ear type, provide a gentle touch on delicate clay surfaces. They won't scratch or damage your pieces, ensuring a flawless finish every time.

Sea sponges for painting

Natural grass sea sponges create stunning, textured effects on walls, adding depth and dimension to any space. Their unique shapes and sizes allow for endless possibilities, from subtle accents to bold statements, making each wall a canvas for your imagination. Make an environmentally conscious choice by opting for natural sea sponges in your wall painting endeavours.

Explore a variety of painting techniques from stippling and dabbing to blending and layering. Whether you're creating a subtle ombré effect or a bold statement wall,natural sponges offer endless possibilities for artistic expression.Ideal types of sea sponges for painting are Mediterranean Honeycomb type and the economical Caribbean grass type.

Craft sponges

Sea sponges bring a unique and organic texture to your arts and crafts creations, adding depth and visual interest to any project. Whether you're painting, stamping, or crafting, the natural texture of sea sponges adds a touch of realism and character. Achieve seamless blending and soft transitions between colours with the help of sea sponges. Their absorbent nature allows for smooth colour blending, creating beautiful gradients and subtle variations in hue. Safe and non-toxic, sea sponges are ideal for arts and crafts projects with children. Let their imagination run wild as they explore different textures and techniques using these natural sponges.

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How to clean a natural sea sponge

After each use, thoroughly rinse the sea sponge under running water to remove any soap residue, debris, or impurities trapped within its pores. Squeeze the sponge gently to ensure all the dirt is expelled.
If you want to periodically refresh your sponges you may soak in Vinegar Solution by mixing one part white vinegar with three parts water in a bowl. Submerge the sea sponge in this solution and let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes,  rinse well and air dry. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that helps kill bacteria and remove any odours.    
Store the sea sponge in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Natural sea sponges vs. synthetic sponges

When it comes to choosing between natural sea sponges and synthetic sponges for bathing, there are some factors to consider. Here's a comparison between the two:
Material: Natural sea sponges are, as the name suggests, derived from the ocean. They are made of a soft and porous structure composed of natural fibers. Synthetic sponges, on the other hand, are usually made from man-made materials such as foams or plastics. Synthetic sponges containing Triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent that has been used in some personal care products, including soaps and body washes. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of triclosan in over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products but not in bath sponges! This ban was implemented due to concerns about the potential negative effects of triclosan on human health and the environment.

The Natural sea sponges company

Your wholesale supplier & exporter of  natural sponges in bulk for importers and brand owners. Available types for export, OEM and private label: honeycomb, fino silk, grass,wool, hardhead and wool  sponges for baby bath, face care, adults and painting sponges.
We Ship Worldwide

We Ship Worldwide

Kereso Sea Sponges
Agios Nikolaos,
Post code 72100,
Crete island, Greece
Tel: +302841025050