Moniligaster blakemorei 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 : 385-386

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.4949.2.11

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Moniligaster blakemorei Narayanan & Julka

sp. nov.

Moniligaster blakemorei Narayanan & Julka , sp. nov.

( Figure 2 View FIGURE 2 )

Type material. Holotype: Clitellate (ZSI/ WGRC /IR.INV.8841), evergreen forest, between Aranamoozhi and Ilampampa (9°18'51.6"N, 77°7'24.1"E) (7 km from Aranamoozhi), Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, India, 27 September 2011, 1056 m a.s.l., S.P. Narayanan and T. Augustine GoogleMaps . Paratype: 1 aclitellate (ZSI/ WGRC /IR.INV.8842), collection data as for holotype GoogleMaps .

Other material. 5 clitellates and 4 aclitellates, ( ACESSD /EW/1048), home garden within rubber plantation, Melukavu (N 09°47'44.2" E 76°45'39.4"), Kottayam District , Kerala, India, 27 April 2017, 315 m a.s.l., R. Anuja, S. Sathrumithra, E. Thomas and V. T. Kurien .

Diagnosis. Colour bluish. Length 82–117 mm, diameter 5.5–7 mm, segments 226–278. Secondary male apertures paired, large transverse slits, slightly lateral to b setae lines at intersegmental furrow 10/11. Spermathecal pores, paired, small transverse slits, close to cd setal lines at intersegmental furrow 7/8. Genital markings absent. Gizzards 2 in segments 13–14. Testis sacs asymmetrical. Vas deferens a mass of hairpin loops, mass about as large as testis sac, entering prostate directly, close to the ental end. Prostates glandular, bluntly club-shaped, prostatic capsule shiny, smooth, club-shaped. Spermathecal atrial glands paired in segment 7, duct of each gland about four times the length of common atrial duct.

Description. External: Colour bluish; body circular in cross section, somewhat rectangular at posterior end. Dimensions: Holotype: 94 mm by 5.5 mm at segment 9, segments 226; paratype: 82 mm by 5.5 mm at segment 9, segments 244; other materials: 107–117 mm by 6–7 mm at segment 9, segments 255–278. Setae lumbricine, closely paired, present from segment 2; setal formula aa = 11–11.33 ab = 1.03–1.1 bc = 11–11.33 cd = 0.24 dd at segment 8 and aa = 15–16 ab = 0.68–0.73 bc = 15–16 cd = 0.23–0.28 dd at segment 20 (n=3). Clitellum annular, faintly demarcated by reddish colour, on segments 10–13. Spermathecal pores paired, in small slits at intersegmental furrow 7/8, close to cd setal lines. Secondary male apertures paired, large transverse slits at intersegmental furrow 10/11, slightly lateral to b setal lines ( Fig. 2A View FIGURE 2 ). Female pores paired, minute, at intersegmental furrow 11/12, at b setal lines. Nephridiopores present from segment 4 to posterior end, on d setal lines. Genital markings absent.

Internal: Septa 5/6–8/9 muscular. Gizzards two in segments 13–14; intestinal origin in segments 26–28. Commissures of extra-oesophageal vessels present on posterior face of septum 8/9, no commissures recognized on posterior face of septum 9/10. Testis sacs paired, in segments 9–11 on one side and dislocated to segments 13–14 on the other side but retaining connection with septum 9/10 through a narrow tube-like membranous structure; vas deferens coiled in a mass of hairpin loops, in segments 9–11or 9–12, mass about as large as testis sac, entering the ental end of the prostate directly without penetrating musculature ( Fig. 2B View FIGURE 2 ). Prostates paired, in segment 11, glandular, bluntly club-shaped, broad and laterally placed; prostatic duct thickened ectally and about 1/3 of the combined length of gland plus duct; capsule shiny, reddish, smooth, club-shaped ( Fig. 2C View FIGURE 2 ). Spermathecae paired in segment 8, ampulla ovoidal, each with a coiled duct passing through septum 7/8 to emerge in segment 7 to discharge at junction of long and slightly sinuous ducts of dichotomous atrial glands ( Fig. 2D View FIGURE 2 ), duct of each gland about four times the length of common atrial duct. Ovarian chamber complete; ovisacs paired, in segment 12, extending to segment 13. Nephridia avesiculate; functional at segment 10.

Etymology. Named after Dr. Robert J. Blakemore, the renowned Australian earthworm taxonomist.

Ingesta. Reddish mineralized soil mixed with sparse tiny pieces of bark.

Habitat. Evergreen forest, home garden within rubber plantation.

Distribution. India: Kerala State: Kottayam District: Melukavu; Pathanamthitta District: between Aranamoozhi and Ilampampa.

Remarks. Moniligaster blakemorei sp. nov. belongs to the same group of species as M. bahli sp. nov. (see remarks there). The species are compared in Table 1 View TABLE 1 . Differences of M. blakemorei sp. nov. to other species of the group are as follows:

M. gravelyi has strap-shaped prostate glands. In contrast, M. blakemorei sp. nov. has club-shaped prostate glands, and lesser number of gizzards (2 vs 4–5). In addition, the prostatic capsule in M. gravelyi is furnished with nodulations and has incised margins. M. blakemorei sp. nov. shows similarity to M. troyi in having club-shaped prostate glands. However, it differs from M. troyi by large size (length 82–117 mm vs 60–63 mm; diameter 5.5–7.0 mm vs 3.5–3.7 mm; segments 226–278 vs 123–153), junction of vas deferens with the prostate glands (at ental end vs at about the middle of the prostate gland), number of gizzards (2 vs 3) and longer ducts of atrial glands (about 4 times as long as common atrial duct vs about 1/4th the length of common atrial duct). M. blakemorei sp. nov. is differentiated from M. keralensis sp. nov. by the shape of the prostate gland and prostate capsule (club-shaped vs tubular), number of gizzards (2 vs 4), junction of vas deferens with the prostate glands (at ental end vs ectal end) and longer ducts of atrial glands (about 4 times the length of common atrial duct vs almost as long as common atrial duct).

For differences from M. bahli sp. nov., see the remarks section of M. bahli .


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


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