Red Barrel Sponge
Sponges are one of the most common inhabitants of the coral reef. Xestospongia muta, the barrel sponge, may live for 100 years and grow to over 6 feet tall. While populations have declined at sites throughout the Caribbean, they appear to be quite healthy on Little Cayman Island. This image of a red barrel sponge was captured by NOAA's Twilight Zone Expedition Team in the Caribbean Sea near the Cayman Islands on May 23, 2007.