Moniligaster bahli Narayanan & Julka, 2021

Narayanan, S. Prasanth, Sathrumithra, S., Anuja, R., Christopher, G., Thomas, A. P. & Julka, J. M., 2021, Three new species and four new species records of earthworms of the genus Moniligaster Perrier, 1872 (Clitellata: Moniligastridae) from Kerala region of the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot, India, Zootaxa 4949 (2), pp. 381-397 : 382-384

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.4949.2.11

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Moniligaster bahli Narayanan & Julka

sp. nov.

Moniligaster bahli Narayanan & Julka , sp. nov.

( Figure 1 View FIGURE 1 )

Type material. Holotype: Clitellate (ZSI/ WGRC /IR.INV.8843), grassland, in soil around roots of moss and small grasses growing on rock bed, Vengolimala in Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (10°25'19.1"N, 76°48'59.7"E) (3 km from Parambikulam), Palakkad District, Kerala, India, 1 August 2016, 1093 m a.s.l., S.P. Narayanan, T. Augustine, and S. Sathrumithra GoogleMaps . Paratypes: 7 clitellates (ZSI/ WGRC /IR.INV.8844), collection data as for holotype GoogleMaps .

Other material. 20 specimens altogether. 6 clitellates and 1 aclitellate ( ACESSD /EW/725), moist deciduous forest, between Parambikulam tunnel entry and Vengolimala in Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (10°25'10.0"N, 76°48'16.1"E), Palakkad District , Kerala, India, 1 August 2016, 566– 784 m a.s.l., S.P. Narayanan, T. Augustine and S. Sathrumithra; GoogleMaps 12 clitellates ( ACESSD /EW/726), evergreen forest, Karianchola in Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (10°27'37.1"N, 76°49'44.5"E), Palakkad District , Kerala, India, 4 August 2016, 733 m a.s.l., S.P. Narayanan, T. Augustine and S. Sathrumithra; GoogleMaps 1 clitellate ( ACESSD /EW/727), evergreen forest, Karimalagopuram in Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (10°21'48"N, 76°45'9.3"E), Palakkad District, Kerala, India, 2 August 2016, 1153 m a.s.l., S.P. Narayanan, T. Augustine and S. Sathrumithra GoogleMaps .

Diagnosis. Colour brownish. Length 75–134 mm, diameter 4.5–7 mm, segments 135–200. Secondary male apertures paired, transverse slits, lateral to b setal lines, at intersegmental furrow 10/11. Spermathecal pores paired, between bc, median to setae c, at intersegmental furrow 7/8. Genital markings absent. Gizzards 3–4 in segments 13–18. Vas deferens a mass of hairpin loops, mass larger than testis sac, entering prostate directly, a little below the ental end. Prostates glandular, strap-shaped, slightly sinuous; prostatic capsule tubular with smooth margins and low nodulations entally. Spermathecal atrial glands paired in segment 7, duct of each gland about one fifth the length of common atrial duct.

Description. External: Colour brownish; body circular in cross section. Dimensions: Holotype: 123 mm by 7 mm at segment 9, segments 200; paratypes: 75–134 mm by 5–6 mm at segment 9, segments 135–187; other materials: 92–129 mm by 4.5–5.5 mm at segment 9, segments 166–195. Setae lumbricine, closely paired, those on segments 2–7 recognizable only under high magnification; setal formula aa =12 ab = 1 bc = 8 cd = 0.23 dd at segment 8 and aa = 14 ab = 1.35 bc = 14 cd = 0.28 dd at segment 20 (n=1). Clitellum annular, differentiated by pale reddish colour at segments 10–13. Spermathecal pores paired, small transverse slits at intersegmental furrow 7/8, aligned between bc, median to setae c. Secondary male apertures paired, transverse invaginations at intersegmental furrow 10/11, lateral to seta b lines ( Fig. 1A View FIGURE 1 ); small, oval-shaped paired epidermal thickenings in front of secondary male apertures at segments 10 and 11. Female pores paired, minute, at intersegmental furrow 11/12, at b setal lines. Nephridiopores minute, recognizable from segment 3, at about seta d lines, missing or dislocated dorsally close to mid-dorsal line on some segments. Genital markings absent.

Internal: Septa 5/6–8/9 muscular, septum 9/10 delicate. Gizzards 3–4 in segments 13–18; intestinal origin in segments 24–26; commissures of extra-oesophageal vessels present on posterior face of septum 8/9. Testis sacs paired, sacs dislocated into segments 17–20, but retaining connections with septum 9/10 by narrow tube-like membranous structures; vas deferens a mass of hairpin loops, extending from segment 9 to segments 12–16, entering prostate directly a little below the ental end without entering musculature, mass larger than testis sac. Prostates paired, extending from segment 11 to segments 15–17, glandular, strap-shaped, slightly widened entally, slender and sinuous ectally ( Fig. 1B View FIGURE 1 ); prostatic capsule tubular, slightly sinuous at the ental and ectal ends, ental end with low nodulations; prostatic duct slightly widened before entering parietes ( Fig. 1C View FIGURE 1 ), about one seventh of the combined length of gland and duct. Spermathecae paired in segment 8, ampulla ovoid, each with a coiled duct penetrating septum 7/8 and posterior atrial gland ( Fig. 1D View FIGURE 1 ) in segment 7 to join at junction of short ducts of atrial glands ( Fig. 1E View FIGURE 1 ); duct of each atrial gland about one fifth the length of common atrial duct, which is slightly bulbous ectally. Ovarian chamber complete; ovisacs in segment 12, extending to segment 20. Nephridia avesiculate; functional at segment 10.

Etymology. Named after the renowned Indian zoologist, the late Prof. K.N. Bahl (1891–1954), who, in the first half of the last century, made tremendous contributions to the understanding of the excretory system in earthworms.

Ingesta. Mostly mineralized soil with sparse tiny pieces of mica, quartz, small pieces of cuticles of leaves and bark.

Habitat. Grassland and evergreen forest.

Distribution. India: Kerala State: Palakkad District: Parambikulam Tiger Reserve: Vengolimala, Karimalagopuram, Karianchola.

Remarks. Moniligaster bahli sp. nov. belongs to a group of species, characterized by (1) vas deferens opening directly into the prostate, i.e., without penetrating the longitudinal muscle layer, (2) spermathecal atria confined to segment 7, and (3) leaflet like glands absent on the vas deferens. The group consists of five species, three of them described in this paper: M. gravelyi Stephenson, 1915 , M. troyi Jamieson, 1977 , M. blakemorei Narayanan & Julka , sp. nov. and M. keralensis Narayanan & Julka , sp. nov. They are compared in Table 1 View TABLE 1 . Differences of these species to M. bahli sp. nov. are as follows:

M. bahli sp. nov. is distinguished from M. gravelyi in the absence of deep marginal incisions on the prostate capsule. It differs from both M. troyi and M. blakemorei sp. nov. by the shape of the prostate capsule that is tubular rather than club-shaped. In addition, it can also be distinguished from M. blakemorei sp. nov. by the number of gizzards (3–4 vs 2). M. bahli sp. nov. is differentiated from M. keralensis sp. nov. by the junction of the vas deferens with the prostate gland (at ental end vs ectal end) and intestinal origin (in segments 24–26 vs segments 27–29).


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics

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