Freshwater sponges (Porifera: Spongillida) are an understudied fauna. Many U.S. state and federal conservation agencies lack fundamental information such as species lists and distribution data. Such information is necessary for management of aquatic resources and maintaining biotic diversity. During the months of June, July, and August of 2013, 2014 and 2015 a survey was conducted in Tennessee to document species of freshwater sponges and obtain preliminary distribution data. Selected rivers and streams were sampled at two to five sites. A total of 520 sponge samples were collected. Spicules and gemmules were viewed and photographed using Scanning Electron Microscopy. Thirteen or 39% of the known species of freshwater sponges occurring in the North America have been collected from Tennessee's rivers and streams. Eunapius fragilis, Spongilla lacustris, and Trochospongilla horrida were the most abundant and widely distributed species. Corvospongilla becki and Heteromeyenia latitenta were the least frequently encountered sponges.
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Vol. 181 • No. 2