CD43 (leukosialin) expression has previously been demonstrated on the surface of developing B cells in mouse bone marrow and on plasma cells induced in vitro, but not on peripheral B cells in spleen. Here we show that CD43, as recognized by mAb S7, is indeed expressed on a small population of splenic B cells. Flow cytometric phenotyping of normal mice and radiation chimeras reveals that CD43/S7 is expressed on virtually all (> 90 to 95%) splenic B-1 cells and the majority of peritoneal B-1 cells, but not on conventional B cells. The expression of CD43/S7, in conjunction with other cell surface markers, clearly distinguishes B-1 cells from follicular, marginal zone, and immature B cells in the unstimulated adult spleen and permits further phenotyping of these subsets. The phenotype of splenic and peritoneal B-1 cells in normal BALB/c and BAB/25 mice is essentially identical with the exception that all peritoneal B-1 cells express CD11b (Mac-1) and some lack CD43/S7 and heat stable Ag (as detected by the mAb 53-10) expression. Although splenic B-1, marginal zone, and immature B cells share many phenotypic characteristics, these studies show that, in addition to CD43, they differ with respect to the expression levels of a variety of Ags including heat stable Ag, B220, and the B cell activation Ag B7.