The characteristics of gliding bacteria isolated from both healthy and diseased sites in the oral cavity are, summarized and the taxonomic position of the bacteria discussed. Uniform attirubtes of the fusiform isolates include gliding motility, strictly fermentative metabolism dependent on the presence of CO2 (or HCO3-), under either anaerobic or aerobic conditions, presence of benzidine-reactive components, and the production of acetic and succinic acids as the major or sole, acidic, metabolic and products. Given the guanine and cytosine content of DNA, their gliding motility, and the ability of many strains to attack polysaccharide a relationship to the cytophagus is suggested. This relationship, along with the CO2-dependent growth is recognized by the generic name Capnocytophaga given them. Many of the isolates are grouped into three species C. ochracea, C. Sputigena, and C. gingivalis, separated on the basis of morphological and physiological traits.