Abstract A copepod nauplius of the family Dirivultidae Humes & Dojiri 1980 is described for the first time. The lecithotrophic nauplius of the widespread symbiotic copepod Stygiopontius pectinatusHumes 1987 was released from females bearing paired egg sacs that included only one yolky embryo each. The ovigerous females of S. pectinatus were washed from the branchial chamber of alvinocaridid shrimps (Rimicaris exoculataWilliams & Rona 1986) collected at a deep-sea hydrothermal field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 5° S (Red Lion site, chimney ‘Shrimps Farm’, depth 3,048 m) by ROV Quest 4000 and maintained in a laboratory on the R/V METEOR (cruise M64/1, 2005). The nauplius of S. pectinatus, appears to be a stage I nauplius because it bears only one pair of caudal setae and the setose bud of maxilla 1 is absent. Like nauplii of other copepods of the order Siphonostomatoida, this nauplius of S. pectinatus possesses a reduced labrum and the body is filled with yolky granules; it also lacks a masticatory process on the antennal coxa. The presence of two inner setae (instead of one seta) on the mandibular endopod is hypothesized to be a primitive character of dirivultids that distinguishes them from the remaining siphonostomatoid genera. The Dirivultidae is a widespread and diverse family of copepods endemic to the deep-sea hydrothermal vents of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Morphological features of the planktonic nauplius of S. pectinatus suggest nutritional independence during their dispersal.