Zoosphaerium platylabum (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897 )

Wesener, Thomas & Wägele, Johann-Wolfgang, 2008, The giant pill-millipedes of Madagascar: revision of the genus Zoosphaerium (Myriapoda, Diplopoda, Sphaerotheriida), Zoosystema 30 (1), pp. 5-85 : 0-7

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https://doi.org/ 10.5281/zenodo.5391729

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Zoosphaerium platylabum (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897 )


Zoosphaerium platylabum (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897) View in CoL

( Figs 30-33 View FIG View FIG View FIG View FIG )

Sphaerotherium platylabum de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897 : pl., fig. 9; 1902: 4, pl. 1, fig.. — Attems 1910: 8, pl. 10, figs -8.

Sphaerotherium (Globotherium) platylabum – Brolemann 1922: 234, fig. 9.

Zoosphaerium platylabum View in CoL – Jeekel 1999: 13 (lists species name). — Enghoff 2003: 20 (lists species name).

TYPE MATERIAL. — Madagascar, province Antananarivo, Antananarivo (Tanarive), 1890, leg.Catat, ♂ holotype (damaged, anterior telopods missing) ( MNHN CB041).

OTHER MATERIAL EXAMINED. — Madagascar. Leg. Lantz, 1 0-1882, 1 ♂ ( MNHN nº 30). — Parc national Andasibe, 23 road km E Moramanga, 9 0 m, rainforest, 18° ’38”S, 48°2 ’03”E, general collecting at night, coll. C. Griswold, D. Silva, D. Andriamalala, 1 -18.I.2003, 1 ♂ ( BLF 7994). — Andasibe, sous-préf. Moramanga, réserve Analamazoatra (Perinet), forêt primaire, 9 0-1020 m, 21.XI.1989, coll. C. Lienhard, 1 ♂, 1 ♀ ( MHNG Mad89/).

DIAGNOSIS. — Medium sized giant pill-millipede ( Fig. 30A View FIG ). Colour in alcohol yellow-greenish, surface of tergites and anal shield almost completely covered with small pits and hairs. First antennomere with single groove ( Fig. 31A View FIG ), joints 1- with sclerotized teeth ( Fig. 31A, B View FIG ). Apical joint with 3 -41 sensory cones ( Fig. 31C View FIG ). Third joint of posterior telopods remarkably thick (only 1.3 times longer than wide) with stout tip ( Fig. 30K, L View FIG ), on posterior and anterior side with single row of sclerotized spots. Anterior telopod with single long, strong stridulation rib and an elongated third joint ( Fig. 30 View FIG H-J). Anal shield not bell-shaped but with steep slope ( Fig. 30A View FIG ). Two well-developed black locking carinae on each side of the anal shield, posterior carina short, only 1. times longer than anterior carina ( Fig. 30E View FIG ). First stigma-carrying plate with one long and broad lobe ( Fig. 30B. C View FIG ). Female subanal plate on each side with single broad and strong stridulation rib. Operculum of female vulva notched, protruding into two sharp edged processes, lateral process wider than inner one ( Fig. 30F View FIG ).


The thick third joint of posterior telopods and the large, long, well-rounded lobe of the first stigma-carrying plate identifies this species unambiguously.


Body measurements: male (holotype only) length up to 3.3, width of thoracic shield up to 19., height of thoracic shield up to 9.9. Female: length up to 40.9, width up to 23.9, height up to 11.3.

Habitus: body in comparison to other Malagasy Sphaerotheriida slightly elongated ( Fig. 30A View FIG ).

Coloration: tergites (in alcohol) yellowish to light green. Collum, head, antennae and legs dark green.

Head: posterior margin of head towards collum without patch of small hairs.

Antennae: length of joints: 1>2>3=4= <, sixth joint longest, of cylindrical shape ( Fig. 31A, B View FIG ), apically with one row of sensilla basiconica, on tip bearing a disc with 3 -41 sensory cones ( Fig. 31B, C View FIG ). First joint remarkably broader than others, short and with single groove ( Fig. 31A View FIG ). Sclerotized teeth at base of joints 1-, not reaching apical border ( Fig. 31A View FIG ). First joint without sensilla basiconica.

Mandible: with rows of pectinate lamellae, number of teeth decreasing proximad ( Fig. 33A View FIG ). Condylus with 1 strongly developed step near apical margin ( Fig. 33A View FIG ).

Gnathochilarium: ventral side with numerous bristles ( Fig. 32A View FIG ). Four sensory cones, located together lateral of palpi ( Fig. 32B View FIG ). Two different types of sensory uvulae on central pads: long, cylinder-shaped ones with 1 medial pit and plain ones without pit.

Collum: anterior and posterior margin with some long, isolated hairs. Few isolated hairs on remaining part of collum

Thoracic shield: surface glabrous ( Fig. 30A View FIG ).

Tergites: especially anteriorly covered completely with small pits, each support a short hair.

Endotergum: internal section with short spines and isolated bristles ( Fig. 33B View FIG ). One row of elliptical grooves, distance between those impressions larger than their diameter ( Fig. 33B View FIG ). External 2 rows of marginal bristles placed closely to one another. Bristles scaly ( Fig. 33C View FIG ), short, reaching 1/2-2/3 towards area between basal point of bristles and posterior tergite end ( Fig. 33B View FIG ).

Anal shield: not bell-shaped or tapered ( Fig. 30A View FIG ). Surface like tergites completely covered with numerous small pits, each supporting a short hair. Ventral side with 2 black locking carinae on both sides, anterior one similar to those of tergites, posterior carina small, 1. times longer than first ( Fig. 30E View FIG ). Both carinae almost parallel to margin, located closely towards last pair of laterotergites. Locking carinae separated from each other by a distance equal to double length of shorter carina ( Fig. 30E View FIG ).

Legs: first tarsi in type specimen with four, second with -7, third pair with 8 or 9 ventral spines. First 2 tarsi with weakly curved claws and without apical spine. Tarsi 3-21 with curved claws, 12-14 ventral spines and an apical spine. Ventral spines dispersed on whole inner side of tarsus ( Fig. 30D View FIG ). In 9th leg femur 2.3 times longer than wide, tarsi

.8 times longer than wide. Femora with single, long crenulated ridge ( Fig. 30D View FIG ).

Stigma-carrying plate: first stigma-carrying plate lobe long, curved strongly towards coxa, protruding above mid-length point of prefemur ( Fig. 30B, C View FIG ). Lobe long, extraordinary broad with one wellrounded tip ( Fig. 30C View FIG ).

Female sexual characters: subanal plate with a washboard, consisting of a single well-developed stridulation rib on each side. Stridulation rib symmetrical and of medium length. Vulva large, covering more than 2/3 of coxa ( Fig. 30F View FIG ). Operculum medially notched, with 2 pointed tips. Both tips reaching same height, but lateral one twice as wide as inner tip ( Fig. 30F View FIG ). Inner plate long and broad, protruding almost as high as operculum ( Fig. 30F View FIG ).

Male sexual characters: male gonopore covered with 1 large, sclerotized, undivided and rounded plate. Apical part of plate membranous. Gonopore covering 1/3 of height and slightly less than 1/2 of coxal width ( Fig. 30G View FIG ). Anal shield completely covered with hair and with steep slope ( Fig. 30A View FIG ).

Anterior telopods: syncoxite on both sides without hair, but on anterior side covered with numerous, small, triangular black spines. First joint with a stridulation harp and one long, broad and strong stridulation rib ( Fig. 30H View FIG ). Second joint on posterior side with one lobe-like, weakly curved process with rounded edges ( Fig. 30I, J View FIG ). Point of process protruding not as high as midpoint of third joint, towards third joint apically with sclerotized spots ( Fig. 30J View FIG ). Third joint elongated, of cylindrical shape, protruding internally much higher than laterally. Joint with a cavity juxtaposed to second joint. Inner side of cavity with numerous sclerotized spots, lateral side with 3 spines ( Fig. 30I, J View FIG ). A single sclerotized tooth located closely to tip ( Fig. 30I View FIG ).

Posterior telopods: third joint conspicuously enlarged (1.2 times longer than wide), joint ending in a stout tip. Towards second joint with a hollowedout margin carrying 1 large, blunt membranous lobe and 2 short spines ( Fig. 30K View FIG ). Anterior aspect with one row of minute sclerotized spots located at margin closely towards tip. Posterior aspect of third joint with c. 19 small sclerotized teeth ( Fig. 30L View FIG ). Process of second joint slim and shorter than third joint, with strongly arched tip. Anterior side apically with some sclerotized spots juxtaposed to third joint ( Fig. 30K View FIG ). Third joint glabrous, second joint on both sides marginally with some long, isolated hairs ( Fig. 30K, L View FIG ), first joint on both sides glabrous.


The specimen of the BLF 7994 has more ventral spines (8) at the first pair of legs. It shows the same number of sclerotized teeth on the posterior telopods.


The only locality where recent material of Z. platylabum was collected is the rainforest at PN Andasibe ( Fig.41 View FIG ). The relatively plenty records in the literature ( Attems 1910; Brolemann 1922) may indicate, that this species has (or had?) a wider distribution. The CAS specimen was in the same vial with an immature female of an undescribed Zoosphaerium species.


This species is conserved in the Parc national Andasibe ( Fig. 41 View FIG ).


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Museum d'Histoire Naturelle














Zoosphaerium platylabum (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897 )

Wesener, Thomas & Wägele, Johann-Wolfgang 2008

Zoosphaerium platylabum

ENGHOFF H. 2003: 20
JEEKEL C. A. W. 1999: 13

Sphaerotherium (Globotherium) platylabum

BROLEMANN H. W. 1922: 234

Sphaerotherium platylabum de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897

ATTEMS C. 1910: 8
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