The creatures resemble large woodlice and roll into a tight ball when threatened. They are somewhat smaller than their more common Madagascan cousins, which can be as large as a baseball when rolled up.
All the new species appear to be restricted to small, isolated habitats. One was found in a cave in Madagascar's southern dry spiny forest region.
Another was confined to the Lavasoa Mountain region, while the remainder inhabited fragments of rainforest, measuring a few hundred metres across.
Two species from the Sainte Luce forest were neighbours.