Purified flagellar filaments isolated from six methanogens were composed of multiple flagellins. Two flagellins were present in Methanococcus deltae (Mr = 34,000 and 32,000), Methanoculleus marisnigri (Mr = 31,000 and 25,500) and Methanococcus jannaschii (Mr = 31,000 and 27,500), three in Methanothermus fervidus (Mr = 34,000, 25,000 and 24,000) and four or more in both Methanococcus vannielii and Methanococcus maripaludis (Mr ranging from 27,500 to 32,000). The flagellins of M. fervidus and M. deltae reacted positively with glycoprotein-specific stains. The flagellins of M. deltae, M. maripaludis and M. vannielii were closely related to those of M. voltae based on cross-reactivity with antisera raised against M. voltae flagellins and homology with flagellin-specific oligonucleotide probes to the N-terminus and leader peptide of M. voltae flagellins. Similarities appear to exist among the flagellins of M. fervidus, M. marisnigri and Halobacterium halobium based on cross-reactivity with antisera produced against the flagella of Methanospirillum hungatei JF1. The N-termini of the flagellins from the mesophilic Methanococcus spp. and M. marisnigri show homology with the N-termini of other archaebacterial flagellins. These N-termini may undergo a modification involving removal of a leader peptide.