The Order Cytophagales (with Addenda on the Genera Herpetosiphon, Saprospira, and Flexithrix)

  • Hans Reichenbach
  • Martin Dworkin


In our discussion of the gliding bacteria (this Handbook, Chapter 19), we have proposed an alternative classification to that in Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, eighth edition. In accordance with those ideas, this chapter will deal exclusively with unicellular gliding bacteria. All of them are Gram-negative, rod-shaped, slender cells that are often rather delicate; in some cases the cells are very short, but more often they are quite long (Fig. 1). Many organisms of this group exhibit change in cell shape, which either leads to spherical resting cells (microcysts) or results at least in highly pleomorphic populations. In contrast to myxobacteria, no complex morphological structures such as fruiting bodies are produced. As we define them, the Cytophagales include at present the following genera: Cytophaga, Flexibacter, Sporocytophaga, Sphaero-cytophagalCapnocytophaga, Microscilla, and Lysobacter (see Table 1; Fig. 1). The group is, however more heterogenous than may seem from this classification, and will certainly require the establishment of additional genera in the future.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Reichenbach
  • Martin Dworkin

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