The generic concept of coccoid green algae exhibiting a crescent-shaped morphotype is evaluated using SSU rRNA gene sequence analyses and light and electron microscopical observations. These common chlorophytes evolved polyphyletically in 10 different clades of the Chlorophyceae and three clades of the Trebouxiophyceae. Six clades are assigned to known genera of Selenastraceae: Kirchneriella, Nephrochlamys, Raphidocelis, Rhombocystis, Selenastrum, and Tetranephris. Four other clades, named following their present genus designation as Ankistrodesmus-like I and II and Monoraphidium-like I and II, require further investigation. One crescentshaped morphotype, which evolved within the Trebouxiophyceae, is designated as Neocystis mucosa sp. nov. The other two lineages containing trebouxiophycean algae with this morphotype are the Elliptochloris and the Watanabea clades. The taxonomic placement of the widely used bioassay strain ‘‘Selenastrum capricornutum’’ NIVA-CHL 1 in the genus Raphidocelis (species name Raphidocelis subcapitata) is indicated by molecular data.