Zoosphaerium fisheri, Wesener, 2009

Wesener, Thomas, 2009, Unexplored richness: discovery of 31 new species of Giant Pill-Millipedes endemic to Madagascar, with a special emphasis on microendemism (Diplopoda, Sphaerotheriida), Zootaxa 2097 (1), pp. 1-134: 126-129

publication ID

http://doi.org/ 10.11646/zootaxa.2097.1.1



persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Zoosphaerium fisheri

new species

Zoosphaerium fisheri   , new species

Derivatio nominis: fisheri   , after Brian L. Fisher (CAS), who collected numerous millipedes on Madagascar.

Studied material: 4 M, 4 F.

Holotype: 1 M (broken, probably 25 mm long), SMF. Locus typicus: Madagascar, Mandraka, coll. G. Osche, possibly Mandraka, rainforest, 18°54'S, 47°55'E. GoogleMaps  

Paratypes: 3 M, 4 F, (all broken) SMF, same data as holotype GoogleMaps   .

Distribution: Only known from the rainforest of Mandraka (Fig. 77).

Diagnosis: Relatively small, up to 30 mm long. Color (changed by alcohol) black, anterior parts of anal shield and tergites 3–12 brown, antennae and legs green. Anterior part of tergites and anal shield in both sexes conspicuously covered with long hair. First antennomere with groove, antennomeres 1–5 with sclerotized teeth (Fig. 87B), disc with 16–22 apical cones (Fig. 87A). First stigmatic plate with prominent, wide lobe (Figs 86A, B). Movable finger of posterior telopods weakly curved, apically only slightly tapering, with three thin spines (Fig. 86F); posterior side with circa 11 sclerotized, crenulated teeth (Fig. 86G). Fixed finger of unusual shape, tip curved and more slender than rest of finger. Third podomere of anterior telopods laterally of cavity with row of 8–10 large, sclerotized, crenulated teeth (Fig. 86E). One stridulation rib on male harp (Fig. 86D) and 1 or 2 on each side of female washboard. Two same-sized locking carinae on anal shield. Operculum of vulva slightly extending beyond coxa, on apical margin medially notched, elongated into two rounded, same-sized lobes (Fig. 86C).

Similar species: The anterior and posterior telopods of Zoosphaerium fisheri   , n. sp. are of a shape not displayed among other known giant-pill millipede species. The posterior telopods are quite similar to those of Z. analavelona   n. sp. but Z. fisheri   , n. sp. differs strongly from the latter in the shape of the female operculum (Fig. 86C), number of apical cones on the antenna and the third podomere of anterior telopods (Fig. 86E).

Description: Body length: Males (4 specimens): width of thoracic shield up to 10.8 mm, height of thoracic shield up to 6.2 mm. Females (4 specimens): length up to 30 mm, width up to 14.7 mm, height up to 7.7 mm.

Habitus: Tergites covered anteriorly with numerous hairs.

Coloration: In most specimens faded by light and alcohol. In best preserved specimens, head, collum, thoracic shield and tergites black, anterior parts of anal shield and tergites 3–12 brown, antenna and legs green.

Head: Eyes with 50–55 ocelli.

Antennae: Length of antennomeres: 1<2=3=4=5<6 (Fig. 87B), sixth antennomere cylindrical, bearing disc with 16–22 apical cones (Fig. 87A). First antennomere of greatest width, short and cylindrical, with groove and 1 or 2 rows of sensilla basiconica (Fig. 87B). Sclerotized teeth at base of antennomeres 1–5 (Fig. 87B).

Mandible: Six rows of pectinate lamellae, number of teeth declining apically to proximally (Fig. 87C). Condylus with two steps near apical margin (Fig. 87C).

Gnathochilarium: Lateral of palpi four sensory cones, located together.

Collum: Only on anterior and posterior margin with some long, isolated hair.

Thoracic shield: Surface similar to tergites.

Tergites: Smooth, covered on anterior half with numerous long hairs, posterior margin with 1 or 2 rows of long hairs. Paratergites projecting slightly posteriorly.

Endotergum: Inner section with broad spines and few setae (Fig. 88D). Between marginal ridge and inner area single row of large, circular cuticular impressions (Fig. 88D). Externally two rows of marginal bristles. Bristles not extending beyond tergite (Fig. 88D).

Anal shield: Well-rounded, neither bell-shaped nor tapered. In both sexes covered with numerous long hairs. Ventral side of anal shield with two same-sized black locking carinae.

Legs: Tarsi of first pair of legs with two to four, second with circa five and third with circa seven ventral spines. First two leg pairs with weakly curved claws and without apical spine. Tarsi of legs 4–21 with curved claws, 10–12 ventral spines and one apical spine. Femur 2.1 and tarsi 4.3 times longer than wide.

Stigmatic plates: First lobe well-rounded, very wide and long, reaching up to apical end of prefemur (Figs 87A, B).

FIGURE 086. Zoosphaerium fisheri   n. sp., A, B, D–G holotype, C female paratype, A: first left coxa and prefemur with first stigmatic plate, posterior view; B: first stigmatic plate, anterior view; C: second left coxa with vulva, posterior view; D: right anterior telopod, anterior view; E: last two podomeres of anterior telopod, lateral view; F: posterior telopod, anterior view; G: posterior telopod, posterior view. Abbreviations: cav = cavity; cr-t = crenulated teeth; Cx = coxa; EP = external plate of vulva; IP = mesal plate of vulva; ml = membranous lobe; O = operculum; Pre = prefemur; s-p = sclerotized spot; scl-t = sclerotized teeth; SR = stridulation rib; St = stigmatic plate. Scale bars = 1 mm.

Female sexual characters: Washboard consisting of short, but broad and well-developed stridulation ribs, with 1 or 2 ribs on each half. Vulva large, covering more than 3/4 of coxal surface. Operculum large, protruding above apical coxa margin. Apical margin of operculum medially notched, forming two same-sized, well-rounded processes (Fig. 87C). Mesal plate long, reaching up to half of operculum height (Fig. 87C).

Male sexual characters: Male gonopore covered with large, sclerotized, undivided and rounded plate. Apical part of plate membranous.

Anterior telopods (Figs 86D, E): First podomere of rectangular shape, width slightly larger than height. Harp with single stridulation rib, rib long and well-developed. Second podomere process lobe-like and little curved with rounded edges, protruding to one third of third podomeres height, apically with sclerotized spots. Third podomere cavity mesally with up to three thin, sclerotized spines, in basal half with numerous small sclerotized spots, laterally with 8–10 crenulated, sclerotized teeth. Third podomere apically with one sclerotized spot.

FIGURE 087. Zoosphaerium fisheri   n. sp., paratype, SEM, A: antenna, apical view on disc; B: antenna, lateral view; C: right mandible, mesal view. Abbreviations: 3iT = 3 inner teeth; Co = condylus; eT = external tooth; mp = molar plate; pL = pectinate lamella.

Posterior telopods (Figs 86F, G): Movable finger elongated with well-rounded tip, length 3.0 times greater than width, apically only slightly tapering. Hollowed-out inner margin with three sclerotized spines, on posterior side with 10–11 small, crenulated, sclerotized teeth. Movable finger slightly longer than fixed finger. Fixed finger basally broad, with 1 or 2 short, sclerotized spines, apically strongly curved, from curvature towards apical tip much more slender than basally, margin apically covered with sclerotized spots. First podomere glabrous, second and third podomere covered on both sides with hair, especially at lateral margins. Inner horns of syncoxite with pointed, slender tip.

FIGURE 088. Endoterga of midbody tergites, holotypes, A: Zoosphaerium micropiligerum   n. sp.; B: Z. pseudopiligerum   n. sp.; C: Z. analavelona   n. sp.; D: Z. fisheri   n. sp. Abbreviations: ci = cuticular impressions; IA = inner area; mb = marginal bristles; mr = marginal ridge.


Forschungsinstitut und Natur-Museum Senckenberg