Almost complete 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences were determined for the type strains of nine species belonging to the genus Desulfotomaculum and for seven strains described as strains of this genus. The sequences were compared with previously published 16S rDNA and rRNA sequences of the type strains of the other species of the genus. The majority of the species form a phylogenetically coherent cluster within the Clostridium-Bacillus subphylum of gram-positive bacteria. The cluster consists of phylogenetically well-separated lineages containing (i) Desulfotomaculum nigrificans, Desulfotomaculum aeronauticum, and Desulfotomaculum ruminis, (ii) Desulfotomaculum geothermicum, Desulfotomaculum thermosapovorans, and Desulfotomaculum sapomandens, (iii) Desulfotomaculum kuznetsovii, Desulfotomaculum australicum, and Desulfotomaculum thermocisternum, (iv) Desulfotomaculum thermobenzoicum and Desulfotomaculum thermoacetoxidans, and (v) Desulfotomaculum acetoxidans. Some as-yet-undescribed Desulfotomaculum strains are phylogenetically well-separated from strains of the described species. Desulfotomaculum guttoideum shares extremely high 16S rDNA similarity with certain Clostridium species (e.g., Clostridium sphenoides and Clostridium celerecrescens) and is most likely a misidentified species. Desulfotomaculum orientis represents a new genus which branches most closely to the genus Desulfitobacterium. The name Desulfosporosinus orientis gen. nov., comb. nov., is proposed for this taxon.