Rhinodrilus fafner Michaelsen, 1918

Giant Brazilian earthworm



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: 1912


At least two searches for this species, in 1967 and 1968, failed to find it (Righi & Maria, 1998). Rhinodrilus fafner was declared officially extinct by the Brazilian government in 2003 (Ministério do Meio Ambiente, 2003).



Minas Gerais State, Brazil


Biology & Ecology




This species is only known from the holotype, collected on 5 May 1912 by F. Jikan (Michaelsen, 1918:195; Brown et al., 2012:141). The holotype is now highly fragmented, and only c.70cm of the original 1.4m portion of the animal preserved now survives (Brown et al., 2012:141).






Original description:

Michaelsen, Wilhelm. (1918). Die Lumbriciden, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der bisher als Familie Glossoscolecidae zusammengefaßten Unterfamilien. In: Zoologische Jahrbücher. Vol. 41: 1-398, Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere, Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena. [in German]


Other references:

Brown, George G., James, Samuel W. and Marini-Filho, Onildo J. (2012). Avaliação do risco de extinção do minhocuçu Rhinodrilus fafner Michaelsen, 1918. Biodiversidade Brasileira 2(2): 140-144.

James, S. W. and Brown, G. G. (2006). Earthworm Ecology and Diversity in Brazil, pp. 56-116. In: Moreira, F. M. S., Siqueira, J. O. and Brussaard, L. Soil Biodiversity in Amazonian and Other Brazilian Ecosystems. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, U.K. & Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: CABI Publishing. [Relevant page]

Ministério do Meio Ambiente. (2003). Instrução Normativa Nº 003, de 26 de maio de 2003. Diário Oficial da União. Nº 101, 28/05/03:88-97.

Righi, G. and de Maria, M. (1998). Oligoquetas, pp. 573-583. In: Machado, A.B.M, Fonseca, G.A.B., Machado, R.B., Aguiar, L.M.S. and Lins, L.V. (ed.). Livro vermelho das espécies ameaçadas de extinção da fauna de Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte: Fundação Biodiversitas.


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