The discovery of small RNA silencing pathways has greatly extended our knowledge of gene regulation. Small RNAs have been presumed to play a role in every field of biology because they affect many biological processes via regulation of gene expression and chromatin remodeling. Most well-known examples of affected processes are development, fertility, and maintenance of genome stability. Here we review the role of the three main endogenous small RNA silencing pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans: microRNAs, endogenous small interfering RNAs, and PIWI-interacting RNAs. After providing an entry-level overview on how these pathways function, we discuss research on other nematode species providing insight into the evolution of these small RNA pathways. In understanding the differences between the endogenous small RNA pathways and their evolution, a more comprehensive picture is formed of the functions and effects of small RNAs.