Zoosphaerium masoala, Wesener & Sagorny, 2021

Wesener, Thomas & Sagorny, Christina, 2021, Seven new giant pill-millipede species and numerous new records of the genus Zoosphaerium from Madagascar (Diplopoda, Sphaerotheriida, Arthrosphaeridae), European Journal of Taxonomy 758 (1), pp. 1-48 : 30-33

publication ID

https://doi.org/ 10.5852/ejt.2021.758.1423

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scientific name

Zoosphaerium masoala

sp. nov.

Zoosphaerium masoala View in CoL sp. nov.


Figs 2F View Fig , 3 View Fig , 10A View Fig , 11 View Fig


The shape and position of the locking carinae, as well as the slender posterior telopods place Z. masoala sp. nov. in the Z. platylabum species-group. Zoosphaerium masoala sp. nov. differs from all other species of the group in the combination of the presence of two stridulation ribs on the male harp, slender posterior telopods in which both fingers reach almost the same length and>10 apical cones on the antenna.


‘Masoala’, noun in apposition, after the forest and peninsula of Masoala, the largest remaining area of lowland rainforest on Madagascar, for which the species described here is the first recorded giant pillmillipede species ( Fig. 3 View Fig ).

Material examined

Holotype MADAGASCAR – Toamasina • ♂; Région Sava, Parc National de Masoala, Forêt de Tampolo , 1.2 km S of Ambodiforaha village; 15°43′45.6″ S, 49°57′49.4″ E; alt. 15 m; pitfall buckets, littoral forest; 11 Dec. 2015; V. Soarimalala leg.; coll. no. VS-2582; FMNH-INS 3195651 . GoogleMaps



BODY LENGTH. Length 23.9 mm, width of thoracic shield 14.2 mm (widest), height of thoracic shield 7.2 mm (highest).

COLORATION. Head, collum, thoracic shield and tergites dark brown to black. Grooves of thoracic shield greenish, anal shield lighter brown ( Fig. 2F View Fig ). Antennae and legs green.

HEAD. Eyes with more than 50 ommatidia. Antennae short, protruding back to leg 4. Length of antennomeres 1>2>3=4 =5<6. A shallow groove present on antennomere 1, disc with 33/12 apical cones.


STIGMATIC PLATES. First stigmatic plate triangular, apex well-rounded, slender, curved towards coxa. Hair most abundant on apical margin ( Fig. 11C View Fig ).

PLEURITES. First pleurite extending slightly posteriorly in a long, thin process.

COLLUM. Margins covered with a few short hairs, central part glabrous.

THORACIC SHIELD. Surface like those of tergites, glabrous.

TERGITES. Smooth and glabrous, no small pits. Paratergites projecting slightly posteriorly.

ENDOTERGUM. Inner section with numerous short spines and isolated bristles. Between marginal ridge and inner area a single row of sparse large, circular cuticular impressions, distance between impressions larger than their diameter. Marginal brim wavy towards inner area. Externally 1 or 2 rows of marginal bristles. Bristles scaly, of medium length, longest reaching slightly above tergite margin ( Fig. 10A View Fig ).

ANAL SHIELD. Rounded, neither bell-shaped nor tapered, covered with numerous short setae. Ventral side of anal shield with two black locking carinae, located close to laterotergites. Anterior carina small and posterior carina 3 times as long as anterior carina.

LEGS. Leg 1 with 1 ventral spine, leg 2 with 2–4, leg 3 with 3 or 4. First two leg pairs without an apical spine, spine present on leg 3. Leg pairs 4–21 with 7 or 8 ventral spines and an apical spine. On leg 9, femur 2.4 and tarsus 4.2 times as long as wide. All podomeres with setae ( Fig. 11A View Fig ).

Male sexual characters

GONOPORE. Covered with a single undivided, rounded, apically membranous, basally sclerotized plate, covering ¼ of surface of coxa. Gonopore located basally on joint ( Fig. 11B View Fig ).

ANTERIOR TELOPODS. Harp with two stridulation ribs, mesal rib smaller than lateral one, both ribs well developed, located in mesal corner ( Fig. 11D View Fig ). First podomere 1.1 times as wide as long. Second podomere process lobe-like and slightly curved, with rounded edges, protruding up to half of third podomere height, apically with sclerotized spots. Third podomere long, as long as first; cavity mesally with numerous sclerotized spots and three thin, sclerotized spines; one sclerotized spot located close to tip; laterally with up to 12 crenulated teeth. Podomeres 1–3 covered on both sides with numerous long, isolated hairs.

POSTERIOR TELOPODS. Movable finger with a well-rounded tip, tapering towards tip; hollowed-out inner margin without lobes but with 5 sclerotized spines, 2 located apically, 2 at midpoint and 1 basally ( Fig. 11H View Fig ). Posterior aspect of movable finger with ca 14 small sclerotized teeth ( Fig. 11G View Fig ). Movable finger slightly longer than fixed finger, the latter slender (4 times as long as wide), apically curved towards former. Fixed finger basally with a single spine, at margin with numerous sclerotized spots. First podomeres almost glabrous, movable and immovable finger covered on both sides with numerous long, isolated hairs, only tips of chela glabrous.



Distribution and ecology

This species is currently known only from the vast lowland rainforests of the Masoala Peninsula on the east coast ( Fig. 3 View Fig ).


Despite several attempts, no DNA could be extracted from the male holotype. Therefore, its degree of similarity to the two much larger females known and sequenced from the Masoala area ( KY399024 View Materials and KY399025 View Materials ) could not be assessed (see Fig. 1 View Fig ).

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