There is a huge diversity of creatures that share the common name ‘worms’, such as flat worms, hook worms, ribbon worms, horsehair worms, and segmented worms. The common earthworm is a member of the class Oligochaeta, within the phylum Annelida (segmented worms). Only about one-third of the earthworms in North America are native; in fact, some exotic species in the northeast are having detrimental effects on forests.

The Xerces Society has profiled the status of a rare and unusual native earthworm – the Oregon giant earthworm. There have been few sitings of this animal in recent years. It can reach up to 60 centimeters long and it reportedly has spit that smells of lilies.


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Palouse giant earthworm (Driloleirus americanus) by Terry Gray