Eighty characters of larvae and adults of 35 adephagan genera, 2 polyphagan genera, and 1 cupedid genus were analyzed using the cladistic computer programs PAUP and MacClade. The analysis resulted in 1961 equally parsimonious trees of 131 steps (minimum length cladogram). The monophyly of Adephaga and of all adephagan families is confirmed. A sistergroup relationship between Gyrinidae and the remaining Adephaga, a sistergroup relationship between Spanglerogyrus and Gyrininae, the monophyly of Dytiscoidea, a sistergroup relationship between Noteridae and the remaining Dytiscoidea, a sistergroup relationship between Hygrobiidae and Dytiscidae, the monophyly of Caraboidea (Rhysodidae and Carabidae), and the monophyly of Harpalinae sensu Crowson (1955) are in agreement with earlier phylogenetic hypotheses by Beutel & Roughley (1988) and Beutel (1992a, 1993, 1995). The sistergroup relationship between Haliplidae and Dytiscoidea and the monophyly of Geadephaga (Trachypachidae + Caraboidea) are in contrast to Beutel (1992a, 1993, 1995). The high number of equally parsimonius trees is largely due to an inconsistent distribution of character states in basal carabid taxa, i.e. reversals and convergencies. Further evidence is needed for a clarification of these systematic problems.