The current type strain of Proteus vulgaris, NCTC 4175 (= ATCC 13315), differs substantially from typical strains of this species both biochemically and chemotaxonomically. DNA relatedness studies revealed that strains previously classified as P. vulgaris belong to six genomospecies. One of these genomospecies contains strains that are negative in indole, salicin, and esculin reactions (biogroup 1) and has been named Proteus penneri. A second genomospecies, which is most frequently isolated from human urine, contains typical P. vulgaris strains that are positive in indole, salicin, and esculin reactions (biogroup 2). The members of the remaining four genomospecies are indole positive and negative in salicin and esculin reactions (biogroup 3). Of 36 biogroup 3 strains studied, only strain NCTC 4175T (T = type strain) and one other strain, CDC 1732-80, belong to genomospecies 3. To retain NCTC 4175 as the type strain of P. vulgaris would restrict this species to these two strains, whose origins are unknown. This would mean that hundreds of strains for which the description of P. vulgaris was written and which have been representatives of this species for the past 50 years would have to be renamed as members of a new species. To prevent this confusion, we request that biogroup 2 reference strain ATCC 29905 (= CDC PR1) replace NCTC 4175 as the type strain of P. vulgaris.