Surveys of the anchialine crustacean fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula (YP), Mexico, have revealed the occurrence of calanoid copepods. The genus Stephos Scott, 1892, belonging to the family Stephidae is among the most frequent and widely distributed groups in anchialine caves but has not been hitherto recorded from the YP. Recent collections from an anchialine cave in an island off the northern coast of the YP yielded many specimens of a new species of Stephos . The new taxon, S. fernandoi sp. n., is described here based on male and female specimens. The new species is clearly distinguished from its congeners by the following characters: male left fifth leg with three terminal lamellae plus subdistal process, right leg with distal row of peg-like elements; female fifth leg with single long, acute apical process; genital double-somite with two rows each of 4 long spinules adjacent to operculum; legs 2-4 with articulated setae. The diversity of the genus shows regional differences; the Australia-Western Pacific region is the most diverse (eleven species), followed by the Mediterranean (seven species) and the Northeastern Atlantic (six species); only four species are known from the Northwestern Tropical Atlantic (NWTA). The morphology of the female fifth leg was examined to explore possible biogeographic trends in the genus; patterns suggest multiple colonization events in the highly diverse regions and a relatively recent radiation in the NWTA, characterized by anchialine forms. The introduction of stephid copepods in the region may be a relatively recent event derived from colonization of benthopelagic ancestral forms and subsequent invasion onto cave habitats. The new species appears to be linked to the strictly anchialine Miostephos .