The objective of this study was to locate Staphylococcus aureus in the bovine udder and to investigate the expression of capsular polysaccharide type 5 (CP5) in situ in both the early and chronic stages of experimental intramammary S. aureus infections. Bovine udder tissue was obtained in early and chronic stages of intramammary infection; i.e., 24 to 96 h and 122 d after experimental intramammary infection with S. aureus Newbould 305. The presence and location of S. aureus was investigated by Gram staining of tissue sections. The expression of CP5 by S. aureus in situ was investigated by immunochemical staining of tissue sections with specific antibodies against CP5. Both in the early and chronic stages of infection, S. aureus was located within the lumen of alveoli or lactiferous ducts, in association with the epithelium, and within phagocytic cells. The staphylococci were mainly observed in clusters and often in the presence of polymorphonuclear neutrophils. Expression of CP5 by S. aureus was observed both in the early and chronic stages of infection. In general, CP5-positive S. aureus were located in alveoli and in association with the mammary epithelium. In the chronic infection, CP5-positive S. aureus were also located deep in the interstitial tissue. These results indicate that--both in early and chronic stages of experimental S. aureus mastitis--colonization of the mammary epithelia and invasion into the interstitial tissue occurs and that CP5 is expressed by S. aureus Newbould 305 in situ. The invasion of S. aureus in the interstitial tissue and the expression of CP5 probably help the bacteria to withstand the host defense mechanisms.