Although phylogenetic relationships among most genera and species in the mammalian family Viverridae have been analysed genetically, no molecular data exist for two threatened island-endemic species, Hose's civet Diplogale hosei of Borneo and the Sulawesi civet Macrogalidia musschenbroekii (both monospecific genera). We obtained the first DNA sequences (large parts of the mitochondrial cytochrome b and NADH2 genes) for these species, using museum specimens, and confirmed that both species warrant their own genus. Hose's civet is a member of the subfamily Hemigalinae and is a sister taxon of the banded civet Hemigalus derbyanus and Owston's civet Chrotogale owstoni; but the relationship among these three species remained unresolved. The Sulawesi civet does not belong to the subfamily Paradoxurinae, in which it is currently classified (hence its widely used English name Sulawesi palm civet), but instead to the subfamily Hemigalinae. We recommend dropping ‘palm’ from all vernacular names of the Hemigalinae to distinguish the Hemigalinae from the ‘true’ palm civets – the Paradoxurinae.