This work summarizes existing knowledge on the faunal history, biodiversity and biogeography of the Antarctic and Subantarctic pycnogonids. It refers to material sampled between 1829 and 1999 from more than 40 expeditions run by 14 countries, and published in 75 papers. Up to now, 31 genera and 25 species have been recorded from a total of about 38,000 specimens captured at 2,000 stations. They constitute 38.75% and 21.5%, respectively, of the 80 genera and 1,164 species recorded worldwide. One hundred and twenty species have been found in Antarctic, 71 in Subantarctic waters, and 60 species in both zones, yielding an endemicity for the entire area of over 80%. Fifty five species revealed a circumpolar distribution and 161 were found mainly on the shelf. The Antarctic Ocean is suggested to be a centre of pycnogonid speciation and dispersion.