(= Propodoplea Lang, 1948)

Misophrioida is a well defined order of Copepoda currently comprising three families and 16 genera. Species of this order inhabit mainly marine oligotrophic environments such as anchialine caves and deep-sea hyperbenthic layers.

"A phylogenetic analysis of the family (BOXSHALL 1989) revealed two monophyletic groups, the Misophria-group and the Archimisophria-group. Species of basal genera of both groups within the cladogram inhabit deep-sea waters and within each group anchialine habitats have been colonized independently. This supports the hypothesis of a deep-sea origin of the order. The number of known species is very small as compared with most other copepod orders. This may be because the habitats in which misophrioids occur are less accessible and more difficult to sample." [from: P. M. Arbizu & S. Seifried, 1996].

"Misophrioids are noteworthy for displaying the most primitive states known in the podoplean copepods for some characters. They probably represent a branch that diverged early from the podoplean lineage within the Copepoda (HUYS & BOXSHALL 1991; JAUME & BOXSHALL 1996a). The order is also remarkable for its biogeography: some of its cave-dwelling representatives show extreme disjunct distributions and are currently interpreted as faunal relicts of ancient seas" [from: Jaume & Boxshall, 1997].

Misophrioid copepods primarily occur in the hyperbenthic zone in both coastal areas and deep-sea habitats (Boxshall 1989). However, many new misophrioids described in last four decades have been found in anchialine caves (Boxshall 1987; Boxshall and Iliffe 1986, 1990; Huys 1988; Jaume and Boxshall 1996a, b; Jaume et al. 1998; Jaume et al. 2001). The species of the family Speleophriidae are mainly from anchialine habitats (Boxshall and Jaume 2000) (Krsinic, 2016).


ARCTICOMISOPHRIA Martinez-Arbizu & Seifried, 1996

  • Arcticomisophria bathylaptevensis Martinez-Arbizu & Seifried, 1996 [Laptev sea, Arctic ocean]
  • Arcticomisophria hispida Jaume & Boxshall, 1997 [north Atlantic; hyperbenthos]


  • Benthomisophria cornuta Hulsemann & Grice, 1964 [north Atlantic; hyperbenthos]
  • Benthomisophria palliata Sars, 1909 [north Europe?; sea waters]

    DIMISOPHRIA Boxshall & Iliffe, 1987]

  • Dimisophria cavernicola Boxshall & Iliffe, 1987 [Lanzarote; anchialine waters]

    Boxshall & Jaume (1999) identified two lineages within the order Misophrioida: one consisting of the family Misophriidae Brady, 1878, including seven genera, and the monotipic family Palpophriidae Boxshall & Jaume, 2000; the other family, Speleophriidae Boxshall & Jaume, 2000, including eight genera.

    Misophriidae are primarily hyperbenthic, representatives of the other two families can be found in anchialine caves. This last habitat could be interpreted "as resulting from a dispersal and colonization episode prior to the closure of the Tethys Sea" (Boxshall & Jaume, 2000).

    On the right, table of relationships between genera of Misophrioida (from Boxshall & Jaume, 2000).

    FOSSHAGENIELLA Jaume & Boxshall, 1997

  • Fosshageniella glabra Jaume & Boxshall, 1997 [north Atlantic; hyperbenthos]

    MISOPHRIA Boeck, 1865

  • Misophria japonica Tanaka, 1966 [Izu; sea waters] (syn. Benthomisophria cornuta Hulsemann & Grice, 1964)
  • Misophria kororiensis Boxshall & Iliffe 1987 [anchialine caves on Indo-West Pacific] (syn. Stygomisophria kororiensis (Boxshall & Iliffe, 1987) )
  • Misophria maculata Tanaka, 1966 [Izu; sea waters] (syn. Benthomisophria palliata Sars G.O., 1909)
  • Misophria pallida Boeck, 1865 [north Europe; sea waters]
  • Misophria sinensis Boxshall, 1990 (syn. Misophriopsis sinensis (Boxshall, 1990)

    MISOPHRIELLA Boxshall, 1983

  • Misophriella schminkei Martinez Arbizu & Jaume, 1999 [Antarctic Sea]
  • Misophriella tetraspina Boxshall, 1983 [north Atlantic; near- bottom plankton]

    MISOPHRIOPSIS Boxshall, 1983

  • Misophriopsis australis Martinez Arbizu & Jaume, 1999 [Antarctic Sea]
  • Misophriopsis dichotoma Boxshall, 1983 [north Atlantic; near- bottom plankton]
  • Misophriopsis longicauda Humes, 1999 [north eastern Pacific; hydrothermal vents]
  • Misophriopsis okinawensis Huys, Ohtsuka, Boxshall & Ito, 1992 [Japan; hyperbenthic]
  • Misophriopsis sinensis (Boxshall, 1990) [Japan; sea waters]

    STYGOMISOPHRIA Oktsuka, Huys, Boxshall & Ito, 1992

  • Stygomisophria kororiensis (Boxshall & Iliffe, 1987) [Koror Island, Palau; anchialine waters]

    PALPOPHRIIDAE Boxshall & Jaume, 2000

    PALPOPHRIA Boxshall & Iliffe, 1987

  • Palpophria aestheta Boxshall & Iliffe, 1987 [Lanzarote; anchialine waters]

    SPELEOPHRIIDAE Boxshall & Jaume, 2000

    ARCHIMISOPHRIA Boxshall, 1983

  • Archimisophria discoveryi Boxshall, 1983 [North Atlantic Ocean]
  • Archimisophria squamosa Alvarez, 1985 [Brazil; sea bottom-plankton]

    BOXSHALLIA Huys, 1988

  • Boxshallia bulboantennulata Huys, 1988 [Canary islands; anchialine waters]

    MEXICOPHRIA Boxshall, Zylinski, Jaume, Iliffe & Suárez-Morales, 2014

  • Mexicophria cenoticola Boxshall, Zylinski, Jaume, Iliffe & Suárez-Morales, 2014

    EXPANSOPHRIA Boxshall & Iliffe, 1987

  • Expansophria galapagensis Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990 [Galapagos; anchialine waters]
  • Expansophria dimorpha Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990 [Lanzarote; anchialine waters]
  • Expansophria sarda Boxshall & Iliffe, 1996 [Italy, Sardinia; anchialine cave waters]
  • Expansophria apoda Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990 [Palau; anchialine waters]

    HUYSIA Jaume, Boxshall & Iliffe, 1998

  • Huysia bahamensis Jaume, Boxshall & Iliffe, 1998 [Bahamas; anchialine waters]

    PROTOSPELEOPHRIA Jaume, Boxshall & Iliffe, 1998

  • Protospeleophria lucayae Jaume, Boxshall & Iliffe, 1998 [Bahamas; anchialine waters]

    SPELEOPHRIA Boxshall & Iliffe, 1986; Jaume & Boxshall, 1996

    Speleophria is a very poorly diversified, strictly stygobitic genus, inhabiting karstic anchialine caves of raised salinity (>18‰) in widely separate territories.

    Only three described species are known to date, viz.S. bivexilla Boxshall & Iliffe, 1986 (left), from Bermuda (NW Atlantic), S. gymnesica Jaume & Boxshall, 1996, from Mallorca (Balearic Is., Mediterranean) and Speleophria bunderae Jaume, Boxshall & Humphreys, 2001 from Australia.

  • Speleophria bivexilla Boxshall & Iliffe, 1986 [Bermuda; cave waters]
  • Speleophria bunderae Jaume, Boxshall & Humphreys, 2001 [W-Australia; anchialine cenotes]
  • Speleophria campaneri Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990 (syn. Speleophriopsis campaneri (Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990)
  • Speleophria germanyanezi Suárez-Morales, Cervantes-Martínez, Gutiérrez-Aguirre & Iliffe, 2017
  • Speleophria gymnesica Jaume & Boxshall, 1996 [Balearic Islands; cave waters]
  • Speleophria mestrovi Krsinic, 2008 [Adriatic Sea; anchialine cave] [PDF-SUMMARY]
  • Speleophria nullarborensis Karanovic & Eberhard, 2009 [Australia; cave waters] [PDF-SUMMARY]
  • Speleophria scottodicarloi Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990 (syn. Speleophriopsis scottodicarloi (Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990)

    SPELEOPHRIOPSIS Jaume & Boxshall, 1996

  • Speleophriopsis balearicus Jaume & Boxshall, 1996 [Balearic Islands; anchialine cave waters]
  • Speleophriopsis campaneri (Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990)
  • Speleophriopsis canariensis Jaume & Boxshall, 1996 [Canary Islands; anchialine cave waters]
  • Speleophriopsis mljetensis Krinic, 2017
  • Speleophriopsis scottodicarloi (Boxshall & Iliffe, 1990) [oceanic islands; sea waters]

    Key to genera and species of the Misophrioids


    | Anchialine Fauna of the Bahamas by T. M. Iliffe |


    Boxshall G.A. & Jaume Damia. 1999. On the origin of misophrioid copepods from anchialine caves. Crustaceana (Leiden). 72 (8); 957-965.

    Boxshall G.A. & Jaume Damia. 2000. Discoveries of cave misophrioids (Crustacea: Copepoda) shed new light on the origin of anchialine faunas. Zool. Anz., 238.

    Jaume D. & G.A. Boxshall. 1996. A new genus and two new species of cave-dwelling misophrioid copepods from the Balearic Islands (Mediterranean). J. Nat. Hist., 30: 989-1006.

    Jaume D. & G.A. Boxshall. 1997. A new genus and two new species of misophrioid copepods (Crustacea) from the North Atlantic hyperbenthos. Sarsia, 82. 39-54.

    Jaume D., G.A. Boxshall & T.M. Iliffe. 1998. Two new genera of Misophrioid copepods (Crustacea) from an anchialine cave in the Bahamas. J. Nat. Hist., 32: 661-681.

    Krsinic F. 2016. A new species of Speleophriopsis (Copepoda: Misophrioida) from an anchialine cave in the Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean.Marine Biodiversity 2016

    Jaume D., G.A. Boxshall & W. F. Humphreys. 2001. New stygobiont copepods (Calanoida; Misophrioida) from Bundera Sinkhole, an anchialine cenote in north-western Australia. Zool. J. Linn. Soc.,133:1-24.

    Martinez Arbizu P. & D. Jaume. 1999. New hyperbenthic species of Misophriopsis and Misophriella, first record of misophrioid copepods (Crustacea) from Antarctic waters. Helgl. Mar. Res., 53: 102-117.

    Martinez Arbizu P. & S. Seifried. 1996. The phylogenetic position of Arcticomisophria bathylaptevensis gen. et sp. n. (Crustacea: Copepoda) a new misophrioid from hyperbenthic deep-sea watres in the Laptev Sea (arctic Ocean). Sarsia, 81: 285-295.

    Sincere thanks to Damia Jaume and T. M. Iliffe for assistance and useful suggestions

    | PAGE UPDATED MAY 11. 2024 |

    Copyright © 1999-2024 G.L.Pesce - All Rights Reserved. Text and images on this website may not be
    redistributed or put as part of any collection (image archives, CDs etc) without prior written permission.