The rove beetle subtribe Xanthopygina (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Staphylininae: Staphylinini) is a species-rich group of 27 neotropical genera that contains some of the largest and most brightly coloured of all staphylinid beetles. The monophyly of the subtribe has never been tested before, using a large dataset of taxa and genes. Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses are used on individual genes (COI, 28S rDNA, wingless, arginine kinase, CAD and topoisomerase I) and the partitioned concatenated dataset to test for monophyly and examine the relationships among Xanthopygina genera. Xanthopygina (excluding Philothalpus) are shown to be a monophyletic group with strong support values. The genus Philothalpus is removed from Xanthopygina and placed in the tribe Staphylinini as incertae sedis. Four distinct clades of Xanthopygina genera are recognized. The origin of Xanthopygina is hypothesized to be in the Late Cretaceous or later and the origin of myrmecophilous adaptations is discussed.