The Oregon giant earthworm (Driloleirus macelfreshi)is a Species of Concern that is endemic to the Willamette Valley of northwestern Oregon. This unique earthworm species, which can grow to be over 4 feet long, is currently known from fewer 15 sites. The most recent finding was made by Dr. Jennifer Gervais (www.oregonwildlife.org) of a 51" specimen found in a bottomland hardwood forest adjacent to the Willamette River. The rarity of this endemic earthworm is believed to be due to the species apparent requirement for undisturbed soils and its narrow range of tolerance for soil conditions.
For the most recent update on the ecology and conservation of the Oregon Giant Earthworm, visit Xerces Fact Sheet: http://www.xerces.org/oregon-giant-earthworm
The primary objectives of the Native Earthworm Project were to: (1) evaluate the status
of and threats to the Oregon giant earthworm (OGE) by assessing its
current distribution and abundance; (2) develop protocols and train
biologists, both students and professionals, for detecting and identifying
the species since other large earthworms seen in the Willamette Valley
can be mistaken for this taxon (3) develop preliminary conservation
measures for the species; and, (4) educate land owners and managers
about the species and its status and conservation needs on their lands.
As part of the study, we will gain insights into the ecological and
habitat requirements of the Oregon giant earthworm, and means for
Field Project Leader: