"Flesh-Eating Sponge" French biologists report they have discovered a carnivorous sponge in the Mediterranean Sea that uses long tendrils to trap and digest tiny crustaceans. Dr. Jean Vacelet and colleagues at the University of Aix in Marseilles[France] say they found the sponge in shallow sea caves. The sponge, of the Abestopluma genus, lacks the tubes and tunnels that most sponges use to filter water and which have made them prized for use in cleaning and painting. Their hooked tendrils drag down prey. Once captive, the crustaceans struggle for several hours, which indicates an absence of paralyzing or toxic secretions. Until now, scientists have believed sponges were inoffensive creatures that survived on whatever tiny plant particles drifted down to the sea floor.