The fecal and mucosal microbiota of infants with rectal bleeding and the fecal microbiota of healthy age-matched controls were investigated by fluorescent in situ hybridization. Bifidobacteria were the main genus in both the feces and mucosa. The other genera tested, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Escherichia coli and lactobacilli/enterococci, represented only minor constituents. No differences in fecal microbiota were observed between patients and controls. In the patients, however, four times greater numbers of bifidobacteria were observed in the feces when compared to the mucosa. Notwithstanding this difference, a strong positive correlation prevailed for bifidobacteria in feces and mucosal samples. The genera assessed accounted for 16% of total bacterial counts on mucosal samples and for 47% of total bacterial counts in feces. This indicates that the unidentified part of the microbiota, especially on the mucosa, deserves more attention.