Phylogenetic relationships among the cirrate octopods (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) were investigated using partial sequences of the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene. The derived phylogeny supports the traditional separation of cirrate families based on web form. Genera with a single web (Opisthoteuthis, Grimpoteuthis, Luteuthis, and Cirroctopus) are clearly distinct from those with an intermediate or secondary web (Cirroteuthis, Cirrothauma, and Stauroteuthis). The cirrates with a single web are separated into three groups. The first group is represented by Opisthoteuthis species, the second by Grimpoteuthis and Luteuthis, and the third by members of the genus Cirroctopus. There is no support for the isolation of Luteuthis in a separate family (Luteuthidae). There is, however, evidence of two groupings within the genus Opisthoteuthis. The data suggest the following revisions in the systematic classification of the cirrates: (1) Cirrothauma, Cirroteuthis, and Stauroteuthis be united in the Cirroteuthidae; (2) Grimpoteuthis and Luteuthis be placed in the Grimpoteuthidae; (3) Opisthoteuthis in the Opisthoteuthidae, and; (4) Cirroctopus be considered sufficiently distinct from both Opisthoteuthidae and Grimpoteuthidae to warrant placement in a new family. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.