Five Gram-negative bacterial strains, oxidase-positive, motile by means of more than one polar flagella, facultative anaerobe, arginine dihydrolase-negative, lysine- and omithine decarboxylase-positive, sensitive to the vibriostatic agent O/129, were isolated from a flow-through rotifer culture system in Gent, Belgium, and previously characterized by fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism. Comparison of the 16S rDNA sequence of strain LMG 21460T indicated close relationships (approximately 99% similarity) to Vibrio campbellii, Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio alginolyticus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. However, DNA hybridization experiments revealed similarity values below 70% with its closest species V. campbellii and V. harveyi. Additionally, the analysed strains differ from related Vibrio species by the utilization of melibiose and production of acid from L-arabinose and amygdalin. Among the strains analysed, differences were observed in some phenotypic characters, particularly susceptibility to ampicillin, polymyxin B and amikacin, and urease activity. The major fatty acids identified were 16:0, 18:1 omega7c, 14:0, 12:0 3-OH and 18:0. Vibrio rotiferianus sp. nov. is proposed, with type strain LMG 21460T (=CAIM 577T); it has a DNA G+C content of 44.5 +/- 0.01 mol%.