Biologists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute recently discovered four new species of carnivorous sponges, including Asbestopluma monticola, above. The scientists report that the twiglike sponges, growing near deep-sea vents and undersea volcanoes off the West Coast, use microscopic hooks to snare tiny crustaceans and then slowly eat them, using specialized enzymes. “Once an animal becomes trapped, it takes only a few hours for sponge cells to begin engulfing and digesting it,” the institute said in a statement. “After several days, all that is left is an empty shell. . . . Killer sponges sound like creatures from a B-grade horror movie. In fact, they thrive in the lightless depths of the deep sea.” Seven other species of carnivorous sponges had been identified previously.