Four strains of marine, aerobic, agar-decomposing bacteria with one polar flagellum and with DNA G+C contents of 38.9-40.2 mol% were isolated from the Far-Eastern mussels and . These four strains were identified as however, they were phenotypically different from species described previously according to carbon compound utilization tests and the BIOLOG identification system. High agar-decomposing activity was found in two strains, in one of which agarase, α-galactosidase, pustulanase and laminarinase had been detected. The level of DNA homology of three of the strains was 70-100%. The fourth isolate was genetically less related to the others (67 % DNA relatedness) and phenotypically was more distant from other members of this group; however, all four strains were assigned to a single species genotypically. DNA from the strains isolated from mussels showed 40-45% genetic relatedness with the DNA of , 8-36% with DNA of subsp. subsp. and , 53% with , 32-48% with marine from mussels and 14-16% with . The DNA-DNA hybridization data revealed that the levels of relatedness between the strains isolated and the type strains of and described recently were significant (95-85 %). These results were confirmed by serological data employing polyclonal antibodies to cell surface antigens. The strains isolated from mussels were identified as . The hybridization data showed that the name Romanenko 1994 should be recognized as a junior subjective synonym of Gauthier 1977. A notable phenotypic diversity of which might be a reflection of their ecological habitats is discussed.


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