Abstract

During a survey of the epipelagic zooplankton of the Isla del Coco, an oceanic island off the coast of Costa Rica, eastern tropical Pacific, female and male specimens of a pontellid calanoid copepod belonging to the genus Pontella were collected. It was recognized as an undescribed species belonging to the Pontella fera species-group. It is most closely related to P. tenuiremis Giesbrecht, 1889 and P. fera Dana, 1849. The new species, P. cocoensis, can be distinguished from these and other congeners by having a unique combination of characters including: 1) the female genital double-somite has a longer lateral process than that illustrated by Giesbrecht (1893) for P. tenuiremis, 2) the lateral genital process bears two subdistal rounded protuberances; 3) the right margin of the genital double-somite is swollen and lacks a process; 4) the presence of modified, arrow-shaped setae on several segments of the female antennule; 5) a short, telescoped female anal somite; and 6) a thumb-like process with a rounded protuberance on the medial surface of the first exopodal segment of the male leg 5. The mouthparts, with sparsely spinulate setae on both the maxilla and maxilliped, and bicuspidate teeth on the mandibular edge, suggest that this new species is omnivorous. This is the first species of Pontella described from Costa Rican waters.

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