Ontogenic development and classification of tentaculitids at high systematic levels are reevaluated in the light of new findings on shell structure and morphology of larval parts, and these features are here regarded as being of primary importance for taxonomy. Class Tentaculita Bouček, 1964 is subdivided into two subclasses, of which subclass Chionioconarida Farsan, 1994 is distinguished by a tubular larval process closed at the apex and covered with microrings. The process is differentiated into a prolarval, metalarval and epilarval part, of which the latter coincides with metamorphosis. Morphology of the larval parts suggests that metamorphosis proceeds in two different manners, giving rise to superorders within this subclass. Within superorder Trompetoconarida Farsan, 1994 a bilaterally symmetrical larval cone develops with an aperture oblique to the long axis of the conch; following metamorphosis the conch becomes radially symmetrical and the aperture perpendicular to the axis; secondary shell, septa and pseudopunctae develop in the adult phase, and the structure of the shell is lamellar. In contrast, within the second superorder, Lirioconarida Farsan, 1994 the epilarval tube develops into a larval bulb with no changes in symmetry and position of the aperture; secondary shell, septa and pseudopuncta are absent. The microstructure of the shell is lamellar in the larval part whereas in postlarval parts it is either sigmoidal or lamellar. The subclass Dacryoconarida Fisher, 1962 possesses a subspherical, tear- or drop-like embryonic chamber which may have a caudal process. The microstructure of the embryonic chamber is variable within this group, being lamellar in some taxa whereas in others, a single layer of shell is present. The postembryonic parts of the lamellar forms possess nacreous or sigmoidal structures.