and , causative agents of milky disease in Japanese beetle and related scarab larvae, have hitherto been differentiated based upon a small number of phenotypic characteristics, but they have not previously been examined at the molecular level. In this study 34 isolates of these bacteria were examined for DNA similarity and by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. Two distinct but related similarity groups were identified: the first contained strains of and the second contained strains of Two strains distinct from but related to may represent a subspecies. Some strains received as were found to be most closely related to and some received as were found to be most closely related to RAPD analysis confirmed the DNA similarity results. Paraspore formation, previously believed to be a characteristic unique to , was found to occur among a sub-group of strains. Growth in media supplemented with 2% NaCI was found to be a somewhat less reliable characteristic in distinguishing the species than vancomycin resistance, the latter being present only in .


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