Research project: Global diversity and evolution of Vermetidae worm-snails


Start date:
Vermetid researchers

Vermetid researchers
Photographer: Tim Collins © Tim Collins

Museum investigators

External investigators

  • Dr Rüdiger Bieler, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
  • Dr Timothy Collins, Florida International University
  • Dr Timothy Rawlings, Cape Breton University
  • Dr John Healy, Queensland Museum

Funded by

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) DEB/REVSYS grant 0841760 awarded to R. Bieler, T. Collins, T. Rawlings and J. Healy


Project website:

The Vermetidae are a family of gastropod molluscs which comprises about 150 extant species. Vermetids are often called ‘worm-snails’, because their appearance is very different from most other marine molluscs, and they superficially resemble some tube worms (polychaetes). They are irregularly-coiled suspension-feeders which live permanently cemented to rock, shell or coral substrates. Some species are reef-builders, and many are ecologically sensitive and/or threatened. Several species are fouling organisms on boat hulls and power-plant channels. The taxonomy of Vermetidae is poorly resolved, and they are not often included in biodiversity surveys or museum shell collections.

As part of a larger, collaborative project to elucidate the evolution of Vermetidae and resolve the convoluted taxonomic dilemmas of this group, postdoctoral researcher Rosemary Golding was involved in several components of the research program:

  1. A global morphological revision of Dendropoma, using anatomical, opercular and conchological information to resolve species and genus-level structure
  2. A survey of West Atlantic Vermetidae, including surveys of coral habitat in Barbados and Belize
  3. Evolution and variation in protoconch morphology across vermetid worm-snails

Rosemary Golding , Scientific Officer
Last Updated: