Microcyclops varicans is one of the smallest copepods found only in a few grassy ponds in southeastern Norway. According to the literature, it is widely distributed in the central parts of Europe.

Key characteristics

Microcyclops varicans is the only species of this genus in Norway. It may resemble Cryptocyclops bicolor, having a relatively short and stout body form. In both species the lateral seta is attached close to the end of a relatively short furca. Originally the two species were in the same genus. However the last thorax segment is more protruded and the last pair of legs (p5) is more prominent in M. varicans than in C. bicolor. The antennae of M. varicans and C. bicolor have 12 and 11 joints respectively. Its colour is whitish with a faint yellow or reddish tinge. 

Female: Length 0.6–0.9 mm

Male: Length 0.6 mm

Ecology and distribution

According to G.O. Sars the littoral species Microcyclops varicans seemed to be rare and he found it only in grassy ponds in the vicinity of Oslo. Since then it has been recorded from a few neutral lowland localities in south-eastern Norway. According to Einsle (1993), M. varicans is widely distributed in the central parts of Europe.

Look alikes

Cryptocyclops bicolor