The coagulase-negative staphylococcal species causing mastitis in lactating cattle were identified and possible differences in the clinical characteristics or persistence of mastitis caused by different CNS were evaluated. The effect of antimicrobial treatment was also assessed. In addition, AFLP-typing of CNS was compared with the phenotypic identification. A total of 133 clinical or subclinical quarter cases of intramammary infection caused by CNS from the practice area of the Ambulatory Clinic of the University of Helsinki were studied. Bacteriological diagnosis was based on biochemical (API) testing. Staphylococcus simulans (43.6%) followed by S. chromogenes (23.3%) were the most common CNS species isolated from the milk samples. Ninety-nine isolates were genotyped using AFLP-analysis. Only 75.0% of S. chromogenes and S. simulans isolates identified with API test were clustered with the type strains of these species. Approximately half of the mastitis cases were clinical, and in the majority clinical signs were mild. The severity and persistence of intramammary infection were unaffected by CNS species. Fifty-nine percent of the quarter cases were treated with antimicrobials, and the rest were left without treatment. Mastitis due to beta-lactamase-negative CNS was treated with penicillin G and that due to beta-lactamase-positive CNS with cloxacillin. Nineteen percent of the isolates were beta-lactamase-positive. The bacterial cure rate for quarters treated with antimicrobials was high, 85.9%, as opposed to only 45.5% for untreated quarters. Bacterial cure rates for the most common CNS species or AFLP clusters were not statistically different. Further studies on identification of CNS species are needed.