New collections were made of Ditrachybothridium macrocephalum Rees, 1959 from the deep-sea elasmobranchs Apristurus laurussonii (Saemundsson) and cf. Rajella bigelowi (Stehmann) in the northern Atlantic Ocean, allowing studies of the morphology of its plerocercus. The material has also allowed an estimate of its position within the Diphyllidea inferred from molecular data for the first time. The plerocercus is withdrawn, but not invaginated, within a cyst with a thick vacuolated wall. The encysted strobila is distinct, with several putative segments and advanced genital anlagen, and the scolex is fully developed with a distinct apical pad. 28S rDNA (D1-D3 regions) sequences were generated from both encysted and excysted D. macrocephalum , as well as from other diphyllidean and pseudophyllidean (outgroup) taxa for use in phylogenetic analyses. Maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference analyses both showed that the diphyllidean genus Echinobothrium is paraphyletic without inclusion of the only two other diphyllidean genera, Ditrachybothridium Rees, 1959 and Macrobothridium Khalil & Abdul-Salam, 1989. A list of published records of larval diphyllideans, their hosts and localities is included.