Archaea utilize a branched modification of the classical Entner-Doudoroff (ED) pathway for sugar degradation. The semi-phosphorylative branch merges at the level of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (GAP) with the lower common shunt of the Emden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway. In Sulfolobus solfataricus two different GAP converting enzymes-classical phosphorylating GAP dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and the non-phosphorylating GAPDH (GAPN)-were identified. In Sulfolobales the GAPN encoding gene is found adjacent to the ED gene cluster suggesting a function in the regulation of the semi-phosphorylative ED branch. The biochemical characterization of the recombinant GAPN of S. solfataricus revealed that-like the well-characterized GAPN from Thermoproteus tenax-the enzyme of S. solfataricus exhibits allosteric properties. However, both enzymes show some unexpected differences in co-substrate specificity as well as regulatory fine-tuning, which seem to reflect an adaptation to the different lifestyles of both organisms. Phylogenetic analyses and database searches in Archaea indicated a preferred distribution of GAPN (and/or GAP oxidoreductase) in hyperthermophilic Archaea supporting the previously suggested role of GAPN in metabolic thermoadaptation. This work suggests an important role of GAPN in the regulation of carbon degradation via modifications of the EMP and the branched ED pathway in hyperthermophilic Archaea.