Rhinodrilus fafner Michaelsen, 1918

Giant Brazilian earthworm, Minhocuçu, Minhocas



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status

Missing (see below) or Extinct (Ministério do Meio Ambiente, 2003)

Last record: 1912


At least two searches for this species during the 1960's (in 1967 and 1968), and at least one search in the 2010's (date unknown), failed to find it (Righi & Maria, 1998; ICMBio et al., 2023). Rhinodrilus fafner was declared officially extinct by the Brazilian government in 2003 (Ministério do Meio Ambiente, 2003), but is assessed as Data Deficient in the IUCN RedList (ICMBio et al., 2023). It is therefore perhaps best treated as Missing.



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 a c.70cm portion of the original 1.4m animal 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.

ICMBio (Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade), Brown, G.G., Brant, A., Hernandez Garcia, L.M., de Oliveira, M.M., Prado, M. U., Bartz, M. L. C. and James, S. W. 2023. Rhinodrilus fafner. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2023: e.T218812277A218812564. Accessed on 23 January 2024.

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. 571-583. In: Machado, A. B. M., Fonseca, G. A. B. da, Machado, R. B., Aguiar, L. M. de S. and Lins, L. V. (eds.). (1998). Livro vermelho das espécies ameaçadas de extinção da fauna de Minas Gerais. Fundação Biodiversistas, Belo Horizonte. 608 pp.


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