This just in from the Seattle Times. These worms have not been seen in over 20 years and some people feared they were extinct. William Fender and his mother Dorothy did some of the early research about these earthworms, and she had a few specimens in her collection in Oregon when I spoke to her a few years ago as I was doing research for The Earth Moved.
“A University of Idaho graduate student recently found a rare giant Palouse earthworm. Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon is apparently the first person in nearly two decades to find a specimen of the worm, which can reportedly grow to 3 feet long.
She found the 6-inch white worm in May while digging at Washington State University’s Smoot Hill Ecological Preserve near Palouse, Wash. The Palouse occupies an estimated 2 million acres of northcentral Idaho and southeastern Washington.
Earthworm experts who gathered for a workshop in Sanchez-de Leon’s native Puerto Rico in November confirmed Sanchez-de Leon’s identification, as did Northwest earthworm expert William M. Fender-Westwind of Portland, Ore.
“By earthworm standards, they’re pretty cool,” said James Johnson, the head of the university’s Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences Department.”