Vermes is an obsolete taxon
|thumb|270px|[[African elephants]] form a widely-accepted taxon, the [[genus]] LoxodontaA taxon is a group of organisms, which a taxonomist adjudges to be a unit. Usually a taxon is given a name and a rank, although neither is a requirement...

 used by Carolus Linnaeus
Carolus Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus , also known after his ennoblement as , was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology...

 and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de la Marck , often known simply as Lamarck, was a French naturalist...

 for all non-arthropod
An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton , a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda , and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others...

An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s. In Linnaeus system the group had the rank of class
Class (biology)
In biological classification, class is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, order, family, genus, and species, with class fitting between phylum and order...

, occupying the 6th (and last) slot of his animal systematics. The class was divided into the following order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

  • Intestina
  • Mollusca
  • Testacea
  • Lithophyta
  • Zoophyta

Apart from the Mollusca (molluscs), Linnaeus included a very diverse and rather mismatched assemblage of animals in the categories. The Intestina group encompassed various parasitic animals, among them the hagfish
Hagfish, the clade Myxini , are eel-shaped slime-producing marine animals . They are the only living animals that have a skull but not a vertebral column. Along with lampreys, hagfish are jawless and are living fossils whose next nearest relatives include all vertebrates...

, which Linnaeus would have found in dead fish. Shelled molluscs were placed in the Testacea, together with barnacle
A barnacle is a type of arthropod belonging to infraclass Cirripedia in the subphylum Crustacea, and is hence related to crabs and lobsters. Barnacles are exclusively marine, and tend to live in shallow and tidal waters, typically in erosive settings. They are sessile suspension feeders, and have...

s and tube worm
Tube worm
A tube worm is a worm-like sessile invertebrate that anchors its tail to an underwater surface and secretes around its body a mineral tube, into which it can withdraw its entire body.Tube worms are found among the following taxa:...

s. Cnidaria
Cnidaria is a phylum containing over 9,000 species of animals found exclusively in aquatic and mostly marine environments. Their distinguishing feature is cnidocytes, specialized cells that they use mainly for capturing prey. Their bodies consist of mesoglea, a non-living jelly-like substance,...

ns (jellyfish and corals), echinoderms and polychaetes were spread across the other orders. After Linnaeus, and especially with the advent of Darwinism, it became apparent that a lot of the Vermes-animals are not at all closely related. Historically, systematic works on phylum
In biology, a phylum The term was coined by Georges Cuvier from Greek φῦλον phylon, "race, stock," related to φυλή phyle, "tribe, clan." is a taxonomic rank below kingdom and above class. "Phylum" is equivalent to the botanical term division....

-level taxa since Linnaeus have largely been about splitting up Vermes and sorting the animals into natural systematic units -- a work that still goes on today.

Of the classes of Vermes proposed by Linnaeus, only Mollusca
The Mollusca , common name molluscs or mollusksSpelled mollusks in the USA, see reasons given in Rosenberg's ; for the spelling mollusc see the reasons given by , is a large phylum of invertebrate animals. There are around 85,000 recognized extant species of molluscs. Mollusca is the largest...

 (the molluscs) has been kept as a phylum, and its composition has changed almost entirely. Though we today may view Linnaeus's early classification of the soft-bodied organisms
Soft-bodied organisms
The term "soft-bodied organism" is used to describe animals without skeleton, roughly corresponding to the group Vermes as proposed by Carl von Linné. All animals have muscles, but since muscles can only pull, never push, a number of animals have developed hard parts that the muscles can pull on,...

 as rather primitive, it was revolutionary in its day. A number of the organisms classified as Vermes by Linnaeus were very poorly known, and a number of them were not even viewed as animals.

See also

  • Vermes in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae
    Vermes in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae
    In 1758, in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae, the Swedish scientist and taxonomist Carl Linnaeus described the class "Vermes" as:Animals of slow motion, soft substance, able to increase their bulk and restore parts which have been destroyed, extremely tenatious of life, and the inhabitants of...

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