We present a 28S rDNA gene tree of selected Raspailiidae, Axinellidae and other demosponges to obtain insight into raspailiid phylogeny and character evolution. The Raspailiidae in our data set cluster in a well-supported clade, distinguished from Axinellidae, Agelasida and Hadromerida. Raspailia (s.s.), Eurypon, Sollasella, Aulospongus and Ectyoplasia form a Raspailiidae clade. Some Raspailia subgenera, in particular R. (Parasyringella), are not retrieved monophyletically. Trikentrion falls into the Thrinacophorinae, and not the Cyamoninae as earlier hypothesized. The axinellid genera Ptilocaulis and Reniochalina also cluster with Raspailiidae, distant from the other Axinellidae. The suitability of particular morphological characters for raspailiid phylogeny is discussed.