Seven strains of Legionella-like amoebal pathogens (LLAPs) were characterized on the basis of their cultural and staining characteristics, biochemical reactions, serology, cellular fatty acids (CFAs), isoprenoid quinone composition, total DNA relatedness, analysis of 16S rRNA and macrophage infectivity potentiator (mip) gene sequence analyses. All seven strains exhibited limited growth on buffered charcoal yeast extract alpha (BCYE) agar, required cysteine for growth and contained branched-chain CFAs and quinones typical of Legionella species. The bacilli were Gram-negative and catalase-positive. There were varying degrees of serological cross-reactions between these LLAP strains and other previously described Legionella species. Results from the various tests revealed that four LLAP strains represent three unusual new species of Legionella: Legionella drozanskii sp. nov., type strain LLAP-1T; Legionella rowbothamii sp. nov., type strain LLAP-6T; and Legionella fallonii sp. nov., type strain LLAP-10T. Three other LLAP strains, designated LLAP-7FL, LLAP-7NF and LLAP-9, were shown to be members of the species Legionella lytica. The deductions made from the phenetic characteristics of these bacteria were consistent with the phylogenetic relationships inferred from 16S rRNA and mip gene sequence analyses. This study is the first to speciate LLAP strains on the basis of data including quantitative DNA hybridization.