This glass model was made by Leopold Blaschka (1822-1895), a highly skilled glass artist based in Dresden, Germany. Leopold Blaschka and his son, Rudolf (1857-1939) are best known for their glass models of plants and marine invertebrates. They were passionate naturalists and based their models on observations and drawings made in the field and in their own purpose-built seawater aquariums. Their painstaking work produced incredibly detailed and scientifically accurate models that still astonish scientists and artists today.

This Blaschka glass model of the Sponge Sycon raphanus represents an early stage in its development. Sponges begin life as free-swimming larvae, which then settle and develop. This model shows the larvae during its metamorphosis into the adult form. As the animal begins to metamorphose, its cells will undergo extensive migrations and continue to differentiate, forming its cylindrical adult body. The long flagellated cells Sycon raphanus once used as a larva to swim, will now develop into cells used for feeding.

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