Genetic divergence is impacted by many factors, including phylogenetic history, gene flow, genetic drift, and divergent selection. Rotifers are an important component of aquatic ecosystems, and genetic variation is essential to their ongoing adaptive diversification and local adaptation. In addition to coding sequence divergence, variation in gene expression may relate to variable heat tolerance, and can impose ecological barriers within species. Temperature plays a significant role in aquatic ecosystems by affecting species abundance, spatio-temporal distribution, and habitat colonization. Recently described (formerly cryptic) species of the Brachionus calyciflorus complex exhibit different temperature tolerance both in natural and in laboratory studies, and show that B. calyciflorus sensu stricto (s.s.) is a thermotolerant species. Even within B. calyciflorus s.s., there is a tendency for further temperature specializations. Comparison of expressed genes allows us to assess the impact of stressors on both expression and sequence divergence among disparate populations within a single species. Here, we have used RNA-seq to explore expressed genetic diversity in B. calyciflorus s.s. in two mitochondrial DNA lineages with different phylogenetic histories and differences in thermotolerance. We identify a suite of candidate genes that may underlie local adaptation, with a particular focus on the response to sustained high or low temperatures. We do not find adaptive divergence in established candidate genes for thermal adaptation. Rather, we detect divergent selection among our two lineages in genes related to metabolism (lipid metabolism, metabolism of xenobiotics).