The concentrations of Cd, Co, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn were determined in the Antarctic copepods Rhincalanus gigas (Brady, 1883), Calanus propinquus (Brady, 1883), Calanoides acutus (Giesbrecht, 1902), Metridia curticauda (Giesbrecht, 1889) and Metridia gerlachei (Giesbrecht, 1902). Samples were taken at seven different stations between 18.01.1999 and 19.02.1999. Metal concentrations in biological tissue ... were determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (GFAAS) with Zeeman background correction and by flame AAS (air–acetylene) with deuterium background correction. We found high mean Cd concentrations in the Metridia species of about 10 µg Cd g-1 and 3–6 µg Cd g-1 in the other copepods. Co and Pb concentrations were low in all species investigated (<0.1 µg Co g-1 and <1 µg Pb g-1). Zn concentrations were high in M. gerlachei and R. gigas (518 and 430 µg Zn g-1). In comparison to copepods from Arctic Seas (Fram Strait, Greenland Sea) and the North Sea, Cd and Cu concentrations appear higher in Antarcticcopepods, while Ni and Pb concentrations are similar in both polar regions and Pb concentrations are higher in the North Sea. Variability between species and different regions are discussed.