Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment


, Volume 595, Issue 1, pp 195-207

First online:

Global diversity of copepods (Crustacea: Copepoda) in freshwater

  • Geoff A. BoxshallAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, The Natural History Museum Email author 
  • , Danielle DefayeAffiliated withDépartement Milieux et Peuplements Aquatiques, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The zoogeographic distributions of the 2,814 species of copepods reported from freshwater are analysed. Faunal diversity is compared between zoogeographic regions: the Palaearctic region has more than double the species richness of the next most diverse region, the Neotropical. Historical factors affecting levels of diversity are identified. More than 90% of all freshwater copepods are endemic to a single-zoogeographic region and endemic genera occur in all regions except Antarctica. Species that are not endemic to a single region include the highly vagile and cosmopolitan species occurring in four or more regions. The greatest faunal connectivity, as identified by Sørensen’s Index, is between Palaearctic and Nearctic regions, and identifies the Holarctic taxa. Key human-related issues, such as the role of copepods as vectors for human parasites and the losses caused by parasitic copepods in commercial aquaculture, are mentioned.


Zoogeography Copepods Freshwater Endemism Species richness