Distribution records of 152 adult helminth taxa parasites of freshwater fishes in Mexico were analysed to determine areas of high richness and endemism. Distribution maps were prepared for each taxon and overlaid onto a map of Mexico divided into 1 × 1 degree grid-cells. Richness was determined by counting recorded helminth species in each grid-cell. A corrected weighted endemism index was calculated for each grid-cell, and the relationship between richness and endemicity was analysed with an Olmstead–Tukey corner test of association. Five areas of high richness and endemism were identified: (1) Los Tuxtlas and the Papaloapan river basin, on the Gulf of Mexico; (2) the Grijalva-Usumacinta basin near the Gulf of Mexico coastal plain; (3) the Yucatan Peninsula; (4) the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve in western Mexico; and (5) the Pátzcuaro lake, in central Mexico. The distribution of richness and endemism of helminth parasites of freshwater fishes in Mexico is congruent with distributional patterns described for other freshwater taxa in Mexico. Patterns of richness and/or endemism in the studied areas can be explained by the ichthyological composition of their bodies of water. The present study establishes an objective way of analysing the relationship between richness and endemicity, and suggests that helminths can make valuable contributions to regionalization of geographical areas and for identification of rich and biologically complex areas with potential for conservation of aquatic systems. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 94, 435–444.