Fan worms (Sabellidae) possess paired modified prostomial structures at the base of the radiolar crown, dorso-lateral to the mouth, called dorsal lips. The dorsal lips are involved in the sorting of particles collected by the radiolar crown. The range of variation in the morphology of dorsal lips is extensive, and probably this is not only due to adaptations to different environments and feeding preferences but also due to phylogenetic constraints. In this study, we describe and compare the morphology of dorsal lips in a range of sabellid taxa based on histological cross-sections of these structures, and compare our data and terminology with those of previous studies. Dorsal lips are maintained erect in most taxa by a modified radiole fused to them known as dorsal radiolar appendage. We suggest that dorsal radiolar appendages with an internal supporting axis (cellular or acellular) and probably also the ventral lips are synapomorphies of the family.