A surprisingly high number of shallow water sponge species (197) were recorded from extensive sampling of natural intertidal and subtidal habitats in Singapore (Southeast Asia) from May 2003 to June 2010. This is in spite of a highly modified coastline that encompasses one of the world’s largest container ports as well as extensive oil refining and bunkering industries. A total of 99 intertidal species was recorded in this study. Of these, 53 species were recorded exclusively from the intertidal zone and only 45 species were found on both intertidal and subtidal habitats, suggesting that tropical intertidal and subtidal sponge assemblages are different and distinct. Furthermore, only a third of the fouling species of sponges from a previous study was recorded in this study, thus suggesting that sponge assemblages from natural and fouling communities in the tropics are different as well. A new species, Forcepia (Forcepia) vansoesti is described from Singapore. Members of this genus possess unique spicules shaped in the form of a pair of forceps. The new species is distinguished from its congeners in having the largest forceps (nearly 300 µm in length) so far recorded in the Indo-Pacific.