A new two-hour test system (RAPIDEC staph) to detect the main staphylococci was evaluated. Of 124 reference strains tested, 83 represented species most often found in clinical specimens, the remaining 41 strains representing five species primarily of animal origin. RAPIDEC staph detected all Staph, aureus, Staph. epidermidis and seven of eight Staph. saprophyticus strains. Of the animal species, all Staphylococcus intermedius strains were assigned to the correct category, the remainder were misidentified as Staph. epidermidis. With 121 catalase-positive Gram-positive cocci isolated from urines the test system correctly detected all Staph. aureus strains, 39 of 41 Staph. epidermidis, and 34 of 36 Staph. saprophyticus. Of 25 atypical Staph. aureus strains which were either slide or tube coagulase negative the test system correctly detected all 17 slide coagulase negative strains but failed to detect eight which were tube coagulase negative. There were no false positives. RAPIDEC staph is a rapid, accurate system for the detection of the three main clinically important species of staphylococci.