Malacology Research Studies | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

NHM research specimens (left to right): Bernaya (Bernaya) Squires & Groves, 2011 [dorsal and ventral views] & Dentarene n. sp. McLean (description in preparation) [apertural and basal views]
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Malacology Contact Information

Got mollusk questions?

Department business hours are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Please call (213) 763-3376 or contact Lindsey Groves at


Research in the Malacology Department

Jann Vendetti’s research includes molecular phylogenic analysis of the Sacoglossan sea slugs with collaborators Dr. Pat Krug (CSULA) and Dr. Angel Valdes (Cal Poly Pomona), plus associated and co-advised students. The systematic review of taxa in this fascinating clade based on molecular and morphological data (using tools such as the NHM’s SEM) have so far included the genera Elysia, Thuridilla, and Julia. Jann is also interested in larval evolution in this clade and in the buccinid gastropods, a group that is well-represented in the Malacology and Invertebrate Paleontology collections and that Jann is working on from both neotological and paleontological perspectives. Most recently, she has begun assessing the impressive NHM terrestrial gastropod collection to reconstruct the historic biodiversity of land snails in Los Angeles County. 


Lindsey Groves' research involves the paleontology, biostratigraphy, paleobiogeography, and systematics of the Late Jurassic to Recent molluscan superfamily Cypraeoidea (cowries and their kin) and the Late Cretaceous to Recent family Haliotidae (abalones). Geographic area of interest includes the entire Western Hemisphere with an emphasis on the eastern Pacific region from southern British Columbia to central Chile, and the entire Caribbean Basin. He has described new cypraeid taxa from Late Cretaceous through early Pliocene strata. Current research projects include: reviewing Miocene cypraeids from the Dominican Republica, and investigating invasive species of terrestrial and freshwater mollusks; preparation of a companion volume to Keen and Bentson’s (1944) monumental Check list of California Tertiary marine Mollusca with Richard L. Squires and LouElla Saul; a revision of the cypraeid genus Muracypraea; and an annotated list of the fossil taxa described by paleontologist William More Gabb from the 1850s through the 1870s.


James McLean has completed the illustrations and text for a two volume guide to the shelled marine gastropods occurring in the cold and temperate waters of the northeastern and northwestern Pacific. Together these volumes will treat over 1800 species, including approximately 400 species recognized as new. The first volume will focus on the species occurring from British Columbia to central Baja California, Mexico and the second will concentrate on species that occur between the Kurile Islands, Russia, and Alaska. Both volumes will include species from British Columbia, Canada. He is also finishing work on a Revision of Worldwide Liotiidae, Recent and Fossil (Gastropoda: Vetigastropoda) with 400 species, of which 255 are new species.