A set of 20 newly isolated temperate bacteriophages for phage typing of the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes has been investigated by means of electron microscopy and electrophoretic analysis of phage structural proteins. All phages had isometric capsids (60-64 nm diameter), and long contractile or non-contractile tails of 170-320 nm length. They could be classified into 2 morphotypes (A1 and B1) and were assigned to 3 listeriaphage species (4211, 2671, and 2389). Individual protein profiles were generated by SDS-PAGE of viral polypeptides, as well as isoelectric focusing of solubilized phage proteins in immobilized pH gradient gels. The major structural proteins ranged in size from approximately 15 to 38 kD, and showed isoelectric points from pI 4.3 to 6.2. Protein compositions permitted the differentiation of individual phages as well as the recognition and grouping of similar viruses.