Nuclear-encoded small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (185rDNA) sequences were determined for Chlamydomonas moewusii Gerloff and five chlorococcalean algae (Chlorococcum hypnosporum Starr; Chlorococcum oleofaciens Trainor et Bold; Chlorococcum sp.; Tetracystis aeria Brown et Bold; Protosiphon botryoides (Kützingl Klebs). All these algae are characterized by a clockwise CCW) flagellar apparatus. Phylogenetic trees were constructed from sequences from these algae together with 20 green algae. All algae with a CW flagellar apparatus form a monophyletic clade (CW group). Three principal clades can be recognized in the CW group, although no morphological character supports monophyly of any of these three clades. The 185rDNA trees clearly demonstrate the non-monophyly of the Chlamydomonadales and Chlorococcales, suggesting that vegetative morphology does not reflect phylogenetic relationships in the CW group. The paraphyly or polyphyly of the genus Chlamydomonas and Chlorococcum are also revealed. Present analysis suggests that the presence or absence of a zoospore's cell wall and the multinucleate condition have limited taxonomic values at higher taxonomic ranks.