Abstract: Bitterlings are relatively small cypriniform species and extremely interesting evolutionarily due to their unusual reproductive behaviors and their coevolutionary relationships with freshwater mussels. As a group, they have attracted a great deal of attention in biological studies. Understanding the origin and evolution of their mating system demands a well-corroborated hypothesis of their evolutionary relationships. In this study, we provide the most comprehensive phylogenetic reconstruction of species relationships of the group based on partitioned maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods using DNA sequence variation of nuclear and mitochondrial genes on 41 species, several subspecies and three undescribed species. Our findings support the monophyly of the Acheilognathidae. Two of the three currently recognized genera are not monophyletic and the family can be subdivided into six clades. These clades are further regarded as genera based on both their phylogenetic relationships and a reappraisal of morphological characters. We present a revised classification for the Acheilognathidae with five genera/lineages: Rhodeus, Acheilognathus (new constitution), Tanakia (new constitution), Paratanakia gen. nov., and Pseudorhodeus gen. nov. and an unnamed clade containing five species currently referred to as “Acheilognathus”. Gene trees of several bitterling species indicate that the taxa are not monophyletic. This result highlights a potentially dramatic underestimation of species diversity in this family. Using our new phylogenetic framework, we discuss the evolution of the Acheilognathidae relative to classification, taxonomy and biogeography.