Graft rejection frequencies in a population of the sponge Ectyoplasia ferox are reported in relation to the complexity of the histocompatibility system in this species. The frequency of graft acceptance is high but we show that, despite assumptions in the literature to the contrary, this does not imply that sponges accepting each other's grafts are genetically identical. This paper reports that graft-accepting pairs of sponges can have dissimilar plasmalemmal proteins. In addition, a theoretical analysis is presented of the types of histocompatibility systems that would account for the present results and those of others. We concluded that there is no evidence that sponges have highly polymorphic histocompatibility systems. The paper also reports on the histology of graft rejection and discusses some of the ecological relevance of the findings.