Historical collections of cyclopoid and harpacticoid copepod crustaceans in the Great Lakes have mainly been based on samples taken with plankton nets in deeper waters (>5 m). Of the non-calanoid copepod species known from the Great Lakes, 58 or 64 live primarily on or in the sediments and rarely are collected in plankton samples. Because of their small size, they are rarely retained in the coarse sieves used to concentrate samples of benthic invertebrates. Thus, the abundance and distribution of most species of these two groups of copepods have never been adequately documented in the Great Lakes. We examined the stomach contents of small, bottom-feeding fishes such as slimy sculpin which feed on benthic copepods that live in deep, inaccessible rocky areas of the Great Lakes to collect some of the material. We also collected in shallow nearshore habitats, including wetlands. We present an annotated checklist of cyclopoid and harpacticoid copepods based on published records and our recent collections in the Great Lakes. We have added 14 species of cyclopoid copepods to the Great Lakes record, increasing the total to 30. Because we probably have accounted for most of the cyclopoid species, we provide a key to the identification of this group. We have added 19 species of harpacticoid copepods to the 15 previously known to the Great Lakes, and suspect that additional species remain to be discovered. In individual lakes, there were approximately as many species of cyclopoids as harpacticoids; the total number of species per lake ranged from 35 to 57. The most speciose genera were Bryocamptus (7), Canthocamptus (5), and Moraria (5) in the Harpacticoida, and Diacyclops (6) and Acanthocyclops (5) in the Cyclopoida. The origin of introduced species, our ability to classify copepod habitat, and the ecological significance of copepods are discussed.
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Cyclopoid and harpacticoid copepods of the Laurentian Great Lakes