A novel thermophilic, photosynthetic bacterium, designated strain HLO8T, was isolated from a bacterial mat in a Japanese hot spring. Morphologically, the isolate was an unbranched multicellular filament with a cell diameter of 0.8-1.0 microm. The bacterium was red to reddish-brown in colour and formed a distinct red bacterial mat in the natural environment. It was able to grow photoheterotrophically under anaerobic light conditions and also chemoheterotrophically under aerobic dark conditions. Optimal growth occurred at 50 degrees C and pH 7.5-8.0. The cells contained bacteriochlorophyll (Bchl) a and gamma-carotene derivatives as photosynthetic pigments, but lacked Bchl c and chlorosomes. Cellular fatty acids in the isolate were mainly C16:0, C14:0 and C15:0. The major quinone was menaquinone-11. The DNA G+C content was 62.0 mol% (by HPLC). Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rDNA sequencing suggested that the isolate belonged to the anoxygenic filamentous phototrophic bacteria represented by Chloroflexus aurantiacus, but was clearly distant from all members in this group (the sequence similarities between the isolate and its relatives were less than 83.8%). Based on genotypic and phenotypic data, the name Roseiflexus castenholzii gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed for this isolate; the type strain is HLO8T (= DSM 13941T = JCM 11240T).