To assess phylogenetic relationships and speciation modes in Closterium, we sequenced two noncoding regions of the nuclear ribosomal cistron, the 1506 group I intron in small subunit and the internal transcribed spacer 2, for a total of 58 strains of the Closterium moniliferum-ehrenbergii species complex. These include both homothallic and heterothallic C. moniliferum Erenberg ex Ralfs v. moniliferum, heterothallic C. moniliferum v. submoniliferum (Woronichin) Krieger, and heterothallic C. ehrenbergii Meneghini ex Ralfs that can be divided into several mating groups. We found no or very little sequence divergence within single mating groups of C. ehrenbergii and among all heterothallic strains of C. moniliferum v. moniliferum or C. moniliferum v. submoniliferum. Nevertheless, sequence divergence was much greater between those mating groups of C. ehrenbergii and also among the three traditional taxa. Maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses showed that the taxon C. ehrenbergii was not monophyletic. The two varieties of C. moniliferum appeared as a sister clade to certain mating groups of C. ehrenbergii. Among the clades that were recovered in different trees by maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses, we consistently found two large conspicuous clades: clade I consisted of mating groups A, B, C, H, K, and L of C. ehrenbergii whose zygospores have smooth-walls, and clade II contained the mating groups D, E, I, J, and S whose zygospores are scrobiculate. Phylogenetic incongruences observed are discussed from the viewpoints of the different molecular nature of the group I intron and internal transcribed spacer 2, as well as putative rapid diversification of the mating groups and probable ancient ancestral hybridization.