Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 November 2013
Contrary to earlier beliefs, crustaceans are present in ice-covered lakes of Antarctica. Interpretation of the significance of this has been hampered by the absence of robust identification of taxa present. We examine cyclopoid copepods from three widely separated lakes. All belong to the michaelseni group of the genus Diacyclops, which is widespread across Continental Antarctica, but do not fit into any existing species. Two new species were identified from eastern Antarctica, D. walkeri from Pineapple Lake (Vestfold Hills) and D. kaupi from Transkriptsii Gulf (Bunger Hills). Most significant was a dense population of a new epibenthic species (D. joycei) associated with microbial mats in Lake Joyce, one of the smaller McMurdo Dry Valleys lakes. This represents the first record of adult cyclopoid copepods from the ice-covered lakes of the Transantarctic Mountains. Continental Antarctica is the centre of diversity for this group of crustaceans and we argue that this is better explained by persistence through past glacial advances rather than by recent post-glacial colonization. The existence of a species endemic to Lake Joyce but apparently absent from other Dry Valleys lakes is discussed in relation to our understanding of the history of the McMurdo Dry Valleys lakes and their faunas.