from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • proper noun A taxonomic genus within the family Siboglinidae — recently discovered deep-sea boneworms.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word Osedax.


  • Only then do bizarre worms known as Osedax (meaning bone eaters) take the opportunity to feed.

    Where Wonders Await Us Flannery, Tim 2007

  • Seventeen species of "zombie bone-eating worms" - otherwise known as Osedax - survive on the rare bounty of a sunken whale.

    British Blogs 2009

  • Genetic studies reveal that Osedax worms diverged from their less specialized relatives around 42 million years ago, when the first whales evolved.

    Where Wonders Await Us Flannery, Tim 2007

  • From the ANNELIDS we have the newly discovered genus Osedax, worms which live on the bones of dead whales.

    Natural History 2004

  • Osedax mucofloris was discovered off the coast of Sweden, also by scientists from the Natural History Museum, London.

    BBC News - Home 2011

  • Osedax worms feed on whale skeletons on the seabed using root-like tissues to bore into and dissolve the bones.

    BBC News - Home 2011

  • Historical Biology: Evidence of Osedax worm borings in Pliocene whale bone from the Mediterranean Deadly dinosaurs

    BBC News - Home 2011

  • Osedax worms for his PhD studies and made contact with staff at the University of Florence's Museum of Natural History in Italy.

    BBC News - Home 2011

  • Osedax living in the Mediterranean that evolved from the animals that left the fossilised traces.

    BBC News - Home 2011

  • An international team of scientists led by the paleontologist Steffen Kiel at the University of Kiel, Germany, found the first fossil boreholes of the worm Osedax that consumes whale bones on the deep-sea floor.

    RedOrbit News - Technology 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Deep sea worms use acid to eat the bones of seabed skeletons, according to US scientists.

    The so-called 'zombie worms' of the Osedax family are known to bore into bones and remove nutrients.

    Fresh analysis of the root-like tissues the worms use to attach to bones has identified acid-secreting enzymes. Until now scientists did not understand how the tiny creatures fed on bone, as they lack the body parts needed to 'drill' physically."

    - Ella Davies, Bone-eating 'zombie' worms drill with acid, BBC website,

    June 30, 2012