<abstract language="eng">From a series of biological samples collected from different freshwater environments in Costa Rica, Central America, the exotic Asian cyclopoid Mesocyclops thermocyclopoides Harada, 1931 was identified. We analyzed the morphology and appendage ornamentation of different Neotropical populations of this species, including specimens from Honduras, southeastern Mexico, and Costa Rica. We also examined Asian specimens from Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, and performed a comparison of the Neotropical and Asian populations including a Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The Neotropical and Asian specimens show subtle morphological variations in the antennules, antennae, mandibles, swimming legs 1-4, and fifth legs. Some characters in the Neotropical group appear to diverge from the Asian pattern and the PCA indicated that intercontinental populations of M. thermocyclopoides are far from being homogeneous. These intra-specific differences are described to expand the known morphological range of this species and to provide the first comparative analysis of an exotic copepod in the Americas. Our analysis suggests that the geographic isolation of the American populations and the subtle morphological divergences with respect to the Asian patterns could be related to speciation processes in the Neotropical region, but also intra-Asian differences are reported. In the Neotropical region this species appears to be restricted to southeastern Mexico, Central America, and one Caribbean island; its potential as biological control of mosquito might enhance its spread in the region
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.