Thirty-three previously non-typable faintly pigmented Gram-negative anaerobic bacterial isolates, biochemically most closely related to Prevotella intermedia and Prevotella nigrescens, were analysed for enzymic reactions, cellular fatty acid (CFA) composition, electrophoretic mobility of malate and glutamate dehydrogenases, hybridization with P. intermedia and P. nigrescens species-specific oligonucleotide probes and, for genetic heterogeneity, by arbitrarily primed PCR (AP-PCR). P. intermedia ATCC 25611T and P. nigrescens ATCC 33563T were run in parallel for comparison. Twenty-nine isolates originated from the normal oral flora of 18 subjects (including five mother-child pairs), and four isolates from various infections. Except for a negative lipase reaction, enzymic profiles of the test isolates were similar to those of P. intermedia and P. nigrescens. Clustering of CFAs, electrophoretic mobility patterns, hybridization with DNA probes for P. intermedia and P. nigrescens, and AP-PCR band patterns of the test isolates differed from those of the type strains of P. intermedia and P. nigrescens, suggesting the existence, in humans, of a new anaerobic species of pigmented, moderately saccharolytic, indole-positive Gram-negative rods.