Plant-parasitic nematodes have developed an arsenal of enzymes to degrade the rigid plant cell wall. In this article, we report the presence of a putative endoxylanase in the migratory endoparasitic nematode Radopholus similis. This enzyme is thought to facilitate the migration of the nematode, as it breaks down xylan, the major component of hemicellulose. The corresponding gene (Rs-xyl1) was cloned and the sequence revealed three small introns. Interestingly, the position of all three introns was conserved in a putative endoxylanase from Meloidogyne hapla, and the position of one intron was conserved in two endoxylanases from Meloidogyne incognita, which suggests a common ancestral gene. The spatial and temporal expression of the Rs-xyl1 gene was examined by in situ hybridization and semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The putative protein consists of a signal peptide, a catalytic domain and a carbohydrate-binding module (CBM). The catalytic domain showed similarity to both glycosyl hydrolase family 5 (GHF5) and GHF30 enzymes. Using Hidden Markov Model profiles and phylogenetic analysis, we were able to show that Rs-XYL1 and its closest homologues are not members of GHF5, as suggested previously, but rather form a subclass within GHF30. Silencing the putative endoxylanase by double-stranded RNA targeting of the CBM region resulted in an average decrease in infection of 60%, indicating that the gene is important for the nematode to complete its life cycle.