Bdellovibrios are unique bacteria with the ability to prey upon a wide variety of susceptible Gram-negative bacteria. Micro-organisms exhibiting this trait have been included in the genus Bdellovibrio despite their isolation from diverse habitats and relatively unstudied taxonomic relatedness. In this study, 16S rDNA sequences were compared from known terrestrial Bdellovibrio species, Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 100T, Bdellovibrio stolpii Uki2T and Bdellovibrio starrii A3.12T in order to study their phylogenetic relationship. The two sequences from B. stolpii Uki2T and B. starrii A3.12T were 90.0% similar to each other but exhibited only 81.7% and 81.2% similarity, respectively to B. bacteriovorus 100T. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that B. bacteriovorus 100T clustered in a separate clade from B. starrii A3.12T and B. stolpii Uki2T, demonstrating only a distant relationship between B. bacteriovorus 100T and the other two recognized type species. DNA-DNA hybridization experiments also demonstrated <4% hybridization between these three species. On the basis of the results obtained from the phylogenetic analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization studies, it is proposed that B. stolpii Uki2T and B. starrii A3.12T should be transferred to a new genus, Bacteriovorax gen. nov. as Bacteriovorax stolpii comb. nov. and Bacteriovorax starrii comb. nov., respectively. It is also proposed that the type species for the new genus Bacteriovorax should be Bacteriovorax stolpii comb. nov.


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