After millions of years living undetected, a freshwater sponge species has been found in Wyndham. There are only 220 freshwater sponge species recorded worldwide. This sponge is the first of its genus reported in Australia.

The sponge discovery happened at Moochalabra Dam. Water Corporation staff were investigating a technical issue at the treatment plant. After finding the organism attacking membrane filters, they sent a sample away for testing to the WA Museum.

Image of a new species of freshwater sponge, Corvospongilla moochalabrensis, which has been discovered in Moochalabra Dam in Wyndham.

Water Corporation staff measuring Corvospongilla moochalabrensis (newly discovered freshwater sponge).

Soaking up all the attention

Unable to identify the genus, the WA Museum engaged experts in Italy and Germany. By using DNA samples, they found it may have originated in Gondawanaland, more than 180 million years ago!

After discussions around the globe, the species was finally given a name. Corvospongilla moochalabrensis was named after the dam.

Sponging up diversity

Freshwater sponges play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy. Known for their filtration systems, their presence means high quality of water and low levels of pollutants.

Water Corporation is one of the largest managers of land and water in the state. This exciting discovery helps us to grow our understanding of WA’s extraordinary biodiversity.

We are also pleased the sponge has such good taste. Wyndham's water from Moochalabra Dam was recently voted the best tasting tap water in WA.

This is one small step for sponge, and a giant leap for spongekind!