||Oligotrichids and choreotrichids are ciliate taxa contributing to the multi-step microbial food web and episodically dominating the marine microzooplankton. The global diversity and distribution of aloricate Oligotrichea are unknown. Here, the geographic ranges of the 141 accepted species and their synonyms in marine and brackish sea water are analyzed, using hundreds of taxonomical and ecological studies; the quality of the records is simultaneously evaluated. The aloricate Oligotrichea match the moderate endemicity model, i.e., the majority (94) of morphospecies has a wide, occasionally cosmopolitan distribution, while 47 morphospecies show biogeographic patterns: they are restricted to single geographic regions and probably include 12 endemic morphospecies. These endemics are found in the Antarctic, North Pacific, and Black Sea, whereas the “flagship” species Strombidinopsis cercionis is confined to the Caribbean Sea. Concerning genera, again several geographic patterns are recognizable. The species richness is distinctly lower in the southern hemisphere than in the northern, ranging from nine morphospecies in the South Pacific to 95 in the North Atlantic; however, this pattern is probably caused by undersampling. Since the loss of species might affect higher trophical levels substantially, the aloricate Oligotrichea should not any longer be ignored in conservation issues. The ecophysiological diversity is considerably larger than the morphological, and even tops the richness of SSrRNA and ITS haplotypes, indicating that probably more than 83–89% of the diversity in aloricate Oligotrichea are unknown. The huge challenge to discover all these species can only be managed by combining the expertises of morphological taxonomists, molecular biologists, ecologists, and physiologists.