Around 30 epibenthic Prorocentrum species have been described, but information about their biogeography is limited. Somespecies are able to produce okadaic acid (OA) and its derivatives,which are responsible for diarrheic shellfish poisoning (DSP). In the present study, we examined the diversity of epibenthic Prorocentrum in the northern South China Sea by isolating single cells from sand, coral, and macroalgal samples collected from 2012 to 2015. Their morphology was examined using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Among 47 Prorocentrum strains, seven morphospecies were identified as P. lima, P. rhathymum, P. concavum, P. cf. emarginatum, P. fukuyoi, P. cf. maculosum and P. panamense. The latter five species have not been previously reported in Chinese waters, and this is the first record of P. panamense outside its type locality. Partial large subunit (LSU) ribosomal DNA and internal transcribed spacer region sequences were obtained and molecular phylogenetic analysis was carried out using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. Chinese P. cf. maculosum strains share 99.5% similarity of LSU sequenceswith the strain from Cuba (close to the type locality), but Chinese P. lima strains share only 96.7% similarity of LSU sequences with the strain from the type locality. P. cf. emarginatum differs from P. fukuyoi mainly in the presence/absence of marginal pores and they form a wellresolved clade together with P. sculptile. OA was detected in all Chinese strains of P. lima and P. cf. maculosum based on liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis, but dinophysistoxin was produced only by two P. lima strains. Chinese strains of P. concavum, P. rhathymum, and P. panamense do not produce detectable level of OA. Our results support the wide distribution of epibenthic Prorocentrum species and highlight the potential risk of DSP in the northern South China Sea.