Boring sponge diversity in the area of the Conero Promontory, the most important rocky emergence on the west coast of the Adriatic Sea (Italy), was assessed. Four species were recorded; one of them, Cliona adriatica, is new and is described here. The new species differs from all the other excavating sponge species, characterized by yellow papillae and lacking or scarcity of microscleres, in the large size of the boring chambers and the presence of numerous styles. Cliona adriatica is present on about 12% of the surface of rocky bottoms in the Conero Promontory area. The impact of this highly destructive species on the carbonatic micritic rock of the promontory was evaluated calculating a relationship between the volume of the boring chambers and the surface of the epilithic portions. Consequently, it was estimated that 1 cm2 of epilithic tissue corresponds to 8.5 g of excavated rock. The recorded correlation between the excavated volume and the area of the papillar zone (roughly the area of the substratum affected by the erosion) allows an estimation of the substratum removed by a boring sponge, using only visually oriented, non-destructive, sampling methods.