Machaerotidae (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cercopoidea) is a taxonomically small but morphologically diverse family of spittlebugs with approximately 115 described species in 31 genera and an exclusively Palaeotropical distribution. Results are presented of the first molecular phylogenetic investigation of Machaerotidae, examining relationships among the currently recognized subfamilies and tribes, as well as determining the phylogenetic placement of the genera Enderleinia Schmidt, Neuromachaerota Schmidt, Labramachaerota Bell & Cryan, and Kyphomachaerota Bell & Cryan. DNA nucleotide sequence data from eight loci (12s rDNA, 16s rDNA, 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, histone 2A, histone 3, wingless and NADH Dehydrogenase subunit 4) were analysed to reconstruct the phylogeny. The evidence generated in this study supports the following systematic conclusions: (i) Machaerotidae is a monophyletic family; (ii) Machaerotini, Hindoloidini (with the new inclusion of Kyphomachaerota), and Enderleiniini (excluding Kyphomachaerota and Apomachaerota Schmidt) are monophyletic tribes; (iii) the genus Apomachaerota was recovered as the most anciently diverged lineage of extant Machaerotidae, and a new subfamily (Apomachaerotinae subfam.n.), is proposed on the basis of its phylogenetic placement as sister lineage to all other extant Machaerotidae.