Sponges provide an array of ecological services and benefits for Caribbean coral reefs. They function as habitats for a bewildering variety of species, however limited attention has been paid in the systematics and distribution of sponge-associated fauna in the class Calcarea or for that matter of sponges in the Caribbean. The goal of this study was to characterize infaunal assemblages from a calcareous sponge, Clathrina lutea, across multiple reefs from the La Parguera Natural Reserve, Puerto Rico. The associated fauna from 43 C. lutea specimens yielded a total of 2,249 associated infauna distributed in seven invertebrate phyla. Arthropoda was the most abundant phylum accounting for 62.5% of total abundance, followed by Annelida (21.0%) and Nematoda (5.5%). Limited patterns of temporal or spatial variability were surmised due to the opportunistic sampling effort afforded to this investigation from the cryptic nature of this species. A concordance between our data set and those for the class Demospongiae were observed, with the most abundant associated fauna being copepods and polychaetes. However, when compared to other Calcarea, the present study found considerably more associated fauna.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2-3