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The evolutionary history of the old, diverse freshwater shrimp genus Caridina is still poorly understood, despite its vast distribution – from Africa to Polynesia. Here, we used nuclear and mitochondrial DNA to infer the phylogeographic and evolutionary history of C. typus, which is one of only four species distributed across the entire range of the genus. Despite this species’ potential for high levels of gene flow, questions have been raised regarding its phylogeographic structure and taxonomic status. We identified three distinct lineages that likely diverged in the Miocene. Molecular dating and ancestral range reconstructions are congruent with C. typus’ early dispersal to Africa, possibly mediated by the Miocene Indian Ocean Equatorial Jet, followed by back dispersal to Australasia after the Jet’s closure. Furthermore, several different species delimitation methods indicate each lineage represents a distinct (cryptic) species, contradicting current morphospecies delimitation of a single C. typus taxon. The evolutionary history of C. typus lineages is complex, in which ancient oceanic current systems and (currently unrecognised) speciation events preceded secondary sympatry of these cryptic species.