Mesocletodes Sars, 1909a encompasses 37 species to date. Initial evidence on intraspecific variability and sexual dimorphism has been verified for 77 specimens of Mesocletodes elmari sp. n. from various deep-sea regions, and ontogenetic development has been traced for the first time. Apomorphies are a strong spinule- like pinna on the mx seta that is fused to the basis, P2–P4 exp3 proximal outer seta lost, P1–P4 enp2 extremely elongated, furcal rami elongated, female body of prickly appearance, female P2–P4 enp2 proximal inner seta lost. Intraspecific variability involves spinulation, ornamentation and size of the body and setation and spinulation of pereiopods. Sexually dimorphic modifications of adult females include prickly appearance of the body, P1 enp exceeds exp in length, P1 coxa externally broadened, seta of basis arising from prominent protrusion, hyaline frills of body somites ornate. Sexual dimorphism in adult males is expressed in smaller body size, haplocer A1, 2 inner setae on P2–P4 enp2 and on P5 exp, P5 basendopodal lobe with 2 setae. Some modifications allow sexing of copepodid stages. The female A1 is fully developed in CV, the male A1 undergoes extensive modifications at the last molt. P1–P4 are fully developed in CV. Mesocletodes faroerensis and Mesocletodes thielei lack apomorphies of Mesocletodes and are excluded.