Zoosphaerium anomalum (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1902 )

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 : 34-37

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

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Zoosphaerium anomalum (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1902 )


Zoosphaerium anomalum (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1902) View in CoL

( Figs 17 View FIG ; 18 View FIG )

Sphaerotherium anomalum de Saussure & Zehntner, 1902 :, pl. 1, figs 7-7e.

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

TYPE MATERIAL. — 1901, leg. C. Alluaud, ♂ holotype ( MNHN CB009).

TYPE LOCALITY. — Madagascar, Isaka XII. Remark: locality probably: province Toliara, Isaka, 24°28’S, 4 °3 ’E.

DIAGNOSIS. — Holotype 20 mm long. Colour in alcohol jade-like green (Fig. A). Surface of tergites shiny, smooth and glabrous. Apical joint of antenna with 4 sensory cones. Third joint of posterior telopods weakly curved, posterior side with up to 2 sclerotized teeth, 2 large, non-sclerotized lobes and around 2 sclerotized spines ( Fig. 17I, J View FIG ). Second joint with broad and stout process, curved with its tip towards third joint. Second and third joints on both sides covered completely with numerous small pits, one short hair standing in each. Two basally fused stridulation ribs on male harp. Anal shield with 2 locking carinae, first short, second twice longer than first ( Fig. 17C View FIG ). Female unknown.


The numerous pits and hairs on the posterior telopods and the unusual shape of anterior telopods allow a secure separation from all other described Malagasy sphaerotheriids.


Body measurements (male holotype): length 20.2, width of thoracic shield 10., height of thoracic shield.1.

Habitus: body short and massive ( Fig. 17A View FIG ). Tergites polished and glabrous. Anal shield only weakly rounded, with relatively steep slope ( Fig. 17A View FIG ).

Coloration: tergites jade-like ( Fig. 19A View FIG ). Head, collum, antennae and legs green.

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

Antennae: sixth joint longest, of cylindrical shape, with four sensory cones. First joint remarkably broader than the others, but short and without groove. Mouthparts not dissected.

Collum: only at margins with some single, long, isolated hairs, remaining parts of collum glabrous.

Thoracic shield: with few hairs in concave lateral extension ( Fig. 17A View FIG ).

Tergites: tips of posterior paratergites margin of almost straight, only slightly projecting posteriorly ( Fig. 17A View FIG ). Tergites shiny and glabrous.

Endotergum: internal section with short spines and few, isolated bristles. One row of weak, elliptical grooves between marginal ridge and internal area ( Fig. 18A View FIG ). Externally one row of marginal bristles, standing apart from one another. Bristles scaly ( Fig. 18B View FIG ), short, protruding 1/2-2/3 between basal point of bristles and tergite margin ( Fig. 18A View FIG ).

Anal shield: only weakly rounded, with an almost steep slope. Reaching its hindmost point on a small process at its lower side ( Fig. 17A View FIG ). In contrast to polished and smooth tergites with numerous small pits, all supporting a short hair. Pits located only on slope, especially towards its hindmost point. Underside carrying 2 black locking carinae on both sides, anterior one small, but well-developed, posterior carina twice longer than first ( Fig. 17C View FIG ). Locking carinae separated from one another by a distance equal to 1/2 of shorter carina length ( Fig. 17C View FIG ).

Legs: first tarsi with or, second with long ventral spines. First 2 tarsi with only weakly curved claws and without apical spine. Tarsi 3-21 with curved claws, or 7 ventral spines and an apical spine. Femora with crenulated ridge.

Stigma-carrying plate: first stigma-carrying plate lobe long, surmounting coxa 1, covered sparsely with hair around its apical margin. Lobe almost straight and only weakly curved towards coxa, with pointed tip ( Fig. 17B View FIG ).

Female unknown.

Male sexual characters: male gonopore small, covered with single, large, sclerotized, undivided and rounded plate. Apical part of plate membranous. Gonopore covering 1/3 of coxal height and 2/ of its width ( Fig. 17G View FIG ). Anal shield almost rectangular, with steep slope, covered with field of small (sensory?) hairs standing in small pits, particularly around hindmost point.

Anterior telopods: syncoxite destroyed. First joint with a stridulation harp and 2 stridulation ribs. Ribs starting basally as one rib, at half of length they diverge into 2 ribs. Both ribs straight and of same length. Second joint on posterior side with lobe like, weakly curved process with rounded edges ( Fig. 17G, H View FIG ). Point of process protruding as high as third joint. Process towards third joint with sclerotized spots ( Fig. 17H View FIG ). Third joint with a deep cavity juxtaposed to second joint. Internal part with a long process, protruding posteriorly. Tip of process on its inner side completely covered with small, sclerotized spots ( Fig. 17G View FIG ). Apical margin of third joint with 3 short, sclerotized spines ( Fig. 17F View FIG ). First joint only on borders with few, isolated hairs.

Posterior telopods: third joint weakly and irregularly curved. Hollowed-out margin towards second joint with two non-sclerotized lobes and two smaller, sclerotized spines ( Fig. 17I View FIG ), on posterior aspect with one row of c. 2 crenulated teeth ( Fig. 17J View FIG ). Process of second joint slightly more slender than third joint, with curved tip. On posterior side whole inner margin covered with numerous small, sclerotized spots juxtaposed to third joint. Second and third joint without any long hair, but on both sides almost completely covered with small pits, each support a small sensory (?) hair ( Fig. 17I, J View FIG ).


This species is only known from its first description, giving the locality “Isaka”. Isaka is a rainforest located in the Andohahela area ( Fig. 13).


Because the species is until now only known from one single locality in pristine rainforest ( Fig. 13), and it was furthermore not found in recently collected material, it is possible that Z. anomalum is in urgent threat of extinction.


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle














Zoosphaerium anomalum (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1902 )

Wesener, Thomas & Wägele, Johann-Wolfgang 2008

Zoosphaerium anomalum

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