A novel Legionella species was identified based on analysis of 16S rRNA and mip (macrophage infectivity potentiator) gene sequences, cellular fatty acids, isoprenoid quinones, biochemical reactions, antigens and quantitative DNA-DNA hybridization. Strain CDC-1796-JAP-E(T) was isolated from well water at the Nagasaki Municipal Medical Center, Japan. Two strains, CDC-3041-AUS-E and CDC-3558-AUS-E, were isolated from water samples during an outbreak of legionellosis in South Australia. Strain CDC-5427-OH-H was isolated from a 66-year-old female patient diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease in the US. Cells from these four strains were gram-negative, non-fluorescent, rod-shaped, and positive for alkaline phosphatase, esterase, leucine arylamidase, catalase, gelatinase, β-lactamase and tyrosine browning assay. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA and mip genes revealed that the four strains formed a distinct cluster within the genus Legionella. The bacteria contained branched-chain fatty acids and quinones that are typical of members of the genus Legionella. Slide agglutination tests demonstrated no cross-reaction with 52 previously described members of the Legionellaceae. DNA-DNA hybridization studies indicated that DNAs from the four strains were highly related (78-84 %) but they showed 29 % relatedness to Legionella oakridgensis ATCC 33761(T) and less than 10 % to strains of other Legionella species tested. These characterizations suggest that the isolates represent a novel species, for which the name Legionella nagasakiensis sp. nov. is proposed; the type strain is CDC-1796-JAP-E(T) ( = ATCC BAA-1557(T) = JCM 15315(T)).