Sixty-eight strains of capnophilic fusiform Gram-negative rods from the human oral cavity were subjected to extensive physiologic characterization, tested for susceptibility to various antibiotics, and the mol-percent guanine plus cytosine of each isolate determined. The characteristics of the isolates were compared with 10 fresh and 2 stock isolates of Fusobacterium nucleatum. The isolates clearly differed from the Fusobacterium species on the basis of mol-percent guanine plus cytosine, end products, growth in a capnophilic environment and fermentation of carbohydrates. All of the gliding isolates required CO2 and formed acetate and succinate, but not H2S, indole or acetylmethylcarbinol. All fermented glucose, sucrose, maltose and mannose. The organisms may be differentiated on the basis of fermentation of additional carbohydrates, hydrolysis of polymers and reduction nitrate. Three species are proposed: Capnocytophaga ochracea, Capnocytophaga sputigena and Capnocytophaga gingivalis. Ten isolates did not fit into the proposed species.