The nematodes or roundworms constitute the phylum Nematoda (also called Nemathelminthes).

They are a diverse animal phylum inhabiting a broad range of environments. Taxonomically, they are classified along with insects and other moulting animals in the clade Ecdysozoa, and unlike flatworms, have tubular digestive systems with openings at both ends. Like tardigrades they have a reduced number of Hox genes, but as their sister phylum Nematomorpha has kept the ancestral protostome Hox genotype, it shows that the reduction has occurred within the nematode phylum.