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Centropages australiensis

Centropages australiensis Fairbridge, 1944

Download a fact sheet for Centropages australiensis (PDF 451KB)


Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Maxillopoda
Subclass Copepoda
Order Calanoida
Family Centropagidae
Genus Centropages
Species australiensis


  • Male: 1.32 mm
  • Female: 1.43 mm

Distinguishing characteristics

  • Small to medium size, square-like cephalosome
  • Cephalosome and 1st pedigerous somite are fused (fusion lines visible on sides)
  • Single naupliar eye
  • Lateral corners of posterior prosome ends in spine
  • Characteristic undulating edge on last prosomal somite between spine and urosome
  • Female P5 biramous, exopod segment 2 with a strong, inner spine-like process
  • Female urosome usually 3-segmented, often with spines, without seminal receptacle


  • One side of right A1 typically thickened along part of length
  • Sharp points on posterior corners of prosome asymmetrical
  • Right P5 with slightly curved spur on inner margin of exopod segment 2, outer apical margin furrowed
  • Right P5 exopod segment 3 is pointed with furrowed inner margin, distinct spine on inner margin and minute spinule on outer margin
  • Caudal rami twice as long as wide


  • Spine on left prosome corner reaches to end of genital somite, spine on right side reaches to the middle of genital somite
  • A1 exceeds caudal rami by 2 segments
  • Genital somite almost symmetrical, with 2 small spines
  • Second urosome somite asymmetric, left side slightly swollen, right side with spine
  • Caudal rami symmetrical, twice as long as wide

(Bradford-Grieve 1994, Boxshall and Halsey, 2004, Taw 1978)


  • Epipelagic
  • Inshore coastal and coastal waters
  • Southern Australian distribution, particularly along eastern seaboard


  • Produces distinctive spiny eggs
  • Eggs can diapause in sediments to avoid unfavourable conditions
  • Females often observed with 2 or more spermatophores attached
  • Omnivorous


  • Boxshall, G. A. and S. H. Halsey (2004). "An introduction to copepod diversity." Ray Society Publications 166: i-xv, 1-966.
  • Bradford-Grieve, J. M. (1994). The marine fauna of New Zealand: Pelagic Copepoda: Megacalanidae, Calanidae, Paracalanidae, Mecynoceridae, Eucalanidae, Spinocalanidae, Clausocalanidae. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Conway DVP, White, R.G., Hugues-Dit-Ciles, J., Gallienne, C.P. and Robins, D.B. (2003) Guide to the coastal and surface zooplankton of the south-western Indian Ocean, Vol Occasional Publications No. 15. Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.
  • Taw, N.@(1978). Some common components of the zooplankton of the southeastern coastal waters of Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 112: 69-136.
  • Vervoort, W. (1957). Copepods from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic plankton samples. Report from the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition 3: 1-160.