Knowledge of the composition of the colonic microbiota is important for our understanding of how the balance of these microbes is influenced by diet and the environment, and which bacterial groups are important in maintaining gut health or promoting disease. Molecular methodologies have advanced our understanding of the composition and diversity of the colonic microbiota. Importantly, however, it is the continued isolation of bacterial representatives of key groups that offers the best opportunity to conduct detailed metabolic and functional studies. This also permits bacterial genome sequencing which will accelerate the linkage to functionality. Obtaining new human colonic bacterial isolates can be challenging, because most of these are strict anaerobes and many have rather exact nutritional and physical requirements. Despite this many new species are being isolated and described that occupy distinct niches in the colonic microbial community. This review focuses on these under-studied yet important gut anaerobes.