NATURAL HISTORY OF THE MARINE SPONGES OF SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND I. SYSTEMATIC STUDIES PREVIOUS WORK The material on which these studies are based comprise collections made in rather restricted areas of Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound. The intertidal and shallow water sponge fauna was studied along the Con-necticut shore of Long Island Sound from Hammonasset State Park to Mil-ford Point. Deeper water collections were largely restricted to oyster beds ranging from Branford to Bridgeport, Connecticut, down to depths of ten meters and never more than a mile and a half from shore. One collection was made in Clinton Harbor aboard a lobster boat. The northern shore of Long Island, the shore of Connecticut east of Clinton and west of Milford Point, and the deeper central part of the Sound have not been surveyed as yet. Collections from Block Island Sound were made on commercial fishing grounds at depths varying from 20 to 40 meters. It is probable that this fauna penetrates the deeper waters at the eastern end of Long Island Sound. The above-mentioned collections were supplemented by a few specimens from both Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound in the A. E. Verrill collections at the Peabody Museum. The earliest study of Long Island Sound sponges was reported by Rafines-que (1819)^ who described five species from the shores of Long Island Sound. Rafinesque's studies were restricted to the western end of the island, including both the northern Sound shore (Oyster Bay) and the southern shore (Gravesend, Sandy Hook, and Bath [?]). His descriptions are poor and unaccompanied by illustrations. Possible synonyms of his species are: 1. Spongia albescens Raf. (whitish sponge) = Suberites ficus (Johnston) (^) 2. Spongia ostracina Raf. (oyster sponge) = Microciona prolifera (E. &: S.) 3. Spongia cespitosa Raf. (bushy sponge) = Haliclona oculata (Pallas) 4. Spongia cladonia (cladonian sponge) z=z Haliclona oculata (Pallas) 5. Spongia virgata (slender sponge) = Microciona prolifera (E. &: S.) (?) Verrill [in: Verrill and Smith, 1873) included several Block Island Sound and Long Island Sound records in a report on the invertebrates of Vineyard Sound and adjacent regions. A list of sponges mentioned by him together 1 Rafinesque regarded sponges as "marine vegetables" since "in all those I have seen, in Europe and America, no perceptible motion nor sensibility was to be discerned in any stage of their existence; and those who have acknowledged their animality, bring no stronger proof thereof than an occasional slight shrinking under the hand, and an animal smell, which are common to some marine plants."