A gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic bacterium with appendages was isolated from continuous cultures with a seawater-sediment suspension containing hexadecane as the sole carbon source. Although this organism was isolated from a hexadecane-degrading bacterial community, it was not able to degrade hexadecane. However, this bacterium was able to use different sugars and amino acids for growth, indicating that it probably profits from the lysis or from products like surfactants of other cells in the community. 16S rDNA analysis demonstrated that the isolated strain is phylogenetically related to the family Flavobacteriaceae of the phylum 'Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides'. Evidence based on phenotypic characteristics and 16S rDNA analysis supports the conclusion that this bacterium is distinct from its nearest relative, Zobellia uliginosa (90.72% similarity in 16S rRNA gene sequence), and from the other genera of the Flavobacteriaceae. It is therefore proposed that the isolated marine bacterium represents a novel taxon, designated Muricauda ruestringensis gen. nov., sp. nov. The type strain is strain B1T (= DSM 13258T = LMG 19739T).