The complete small subunit rRNA gene sequences of the heterotrich Blepharisma americanum and the colpodid Colpoda inflata were determined to be 1719 and 1786 nucleotides respectively. The phylogeny produced by comparisons with other ciliates indicated that C. inflata is allied more closely with the nassophoreans and oligohymenophoreans than the spirotrichs. This is consistent with the placement of the colpodids in the Class Copodea. Blepharisma americanum was not grouped with the hypotrichs but instead was placed as the earliest branching ciliate. The distinct separation of B. americanum supports the elevation to class status given the heterotrichs based on morphological characters.