Trust For Nature

Threatened invertebrates of the Western Strzeleckis: Giant Gippsland Earthworm

Threatened species focus: Giant Gippsland Earthworm (Megascolides australis)
Species conservation status: Victoria: Listed (FFG) / National: Vulnerable (EPBC) / International: Endangered (IUCN)
West Gippsland and Port Phillip & Westernport regionsRegions: West Gippsland and Port Phillip & Westernport
Project date: February – June 2016
Leading organisation: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Partner organisations: Trust for Nature, Dr Beverley Van Praagh (Invert-Eco), covenantors

Adult Giant Gippsland Earthworm. Photo: Beverley Van Praagh
Adult Giant Gippsland Earthworm. Photo: Beverley Van Praagh

Giant Gippsland Earthworm egg cocoon. Photo: Beverley Van Praagh
Giant Gippsland Earthworm egg cocoon. Photo: Beverley Van Praagh

Trust for Nature is working with our project partners to investigate the potential for the establishment of formal conservation reserves for the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, and the role that Trust for Nature conservation covenants could play in this.

The Giant Gippsland Earthworm has a known distribution of only 40,000 hectares and is mostly known from sites on dairy farms where the natural vegetation has been largely cleared. Trust for Nature reviewed its nature reserves and covenants within the Giant Gippsland Earthworm’s known range and identified two covenants with unconfirmed records. The project team reviewed conservation management plans for both of these covenants and has developed a Giant Gippsland Earthworm Management Guide for Trust for Nature to use when assessing and recommending management actions for areas with suitable Giant Gippsland Earthworm habitat.

With assistance from a covenantor, the project team surveyed his property and identified three locations where Giant Gippsland Earthworm is present. This finding and our understanding of how the property has been managed will contribute to our consideration of how covenanted properties can contribute to the protection of this iconic threatened species.

For more information on this project, contact:
John Hick, West Gippsland Regional Manager
0437 589 317 / johnh@tfn.org.au

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