The different forms of the aptychi (opercula, homologous with lower jaws) of the Ammonoidea are used for the first time in a phylogenetic analysis of part of the classic Ammonoidea phylogeny. The results indicate that the aptychi-possessing ammonoids form a monophylum for which we propose the informal name Aptychophora nov. Among the Jurassic ammonoids, it is possible to recognize several monophyletic groups. In part, our results support existing superfamilies (e.g. Hildocerataceae, Haplocerataceae) by new synapomorphies. However, the Perisphinctaceae can now be much more clearly differentiated than in the previously established phylogenetic tree. The Upper Cretaceous ammonoid superfamilies cannot be derived from the Haplocerataceae, but are descendants of a ‘primitive’ perisphinctacean possessing a praestriaptychus. Nor can they be derived from the ‘higher’ perisphinctaceans (family Perisphinctidae) because that clade is characterized by granulaptychi. The consequence of these results is that the quadrilobate primary suture of the ‘Ancyloceratina’ must have evolved more than once by reduction from an ancestral quinquelobate primary suture. The Ancyloceratidae have praestraptychi or aptychi types which can be derived from praestriaptychi, whereas the Crioceratitinae have longitudinally striated anaptychi.