Mastocarpus papillatus (C. Agardh) Kütz. is a common intertidal red alga occurring along the west coast of North America from Baja California to Alaska. Sequencing of both the chloroplast-encoded rbcL gene and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of ∼200 specimens from California to Alaska revealed that M. papillatus is actually a complex of at least five species. All five species have high bootstrap support in phylogenetic analyses of both genetic regions, and in the case of the ITS marker, the species also have distinctive patterns of indels. Three of the species are localized in the mid- to upper intertidal, whereas two of the species occur in the low intertidal. The species also have different geographic ranges that overlap in the Vancouver Island area of British Columbia. No distinctive, reliable morphological differences were observed among the species. Although a variety of names are available for species in the complex, it is not yet clear which name goes with which species. As part of the survey, I also sequenced other species of Mastocarpus in the northeast Pacific region, and I provide new distribution records for M. jardinii ( J. Agardh) J. A. West and for a nonpapillate and probably undescribed species of Mastocarpus.