Two free-living marine euplotid ciliates, Pseudodiophrys nigricans and Diophrys japonica, collected from the coastal waters off Qingdao, northern China, were investigated using live observations and protargol impregnation methods. The cortical development of P. nigricans was observed during binary division. Although its general pattern of morphogenesis is similar to that of other Diophrys-like species, three unusual features are noteworthy: 1) the frontoventral transverse cirral anlagen develop in the secondary mode, similar to that of Euplotes; 2) the undulating membrane anlage migrates far from the cytostome and does not split into two membranes; and 3) the parental adoral zone of membranelles remains nearly intact throughout the entire morphogenetic process. Diophrys japonica is redescribed based on a Chinese population and can be recognized by having one left marginal cirrus, densely arranged cortical granules, and a fragment kinety with three dikinetids. Phylogenetic analyses based on the small subunit rRNA (SSU rRNA) gene sequence data indicate that D. japonica is placed within the Diophrys clade and is most closely related to the well-known D. apoligothrix. © J. Morphol., 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.