Global diversity of copepods (Crustacea: Copepoda) in freshwater


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.

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We would like to thank Estelle Balian and Koen Martens, for the invitation to contribute to this volume, and Diana Galassi and an anonymous reviewer for their suggested improvements.

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Correspondence to Geoff A. Boxshall.

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Guest editors: E.V. Balian, C. Lévêque, H. Segers and K. Martens

Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment

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Boxshall, G.A., Defaye, D. Global diversity of copepods (Crustacea: Copepoda) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595, 195–207 (2008).

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  • Zoogeography
  • Copepods
  • Freshwater
  • Endemism
  • Species richness