Black-pigmented Bacteroides species are recognized as suspected pathogens of oral infections. Developments in the taxonomy of this group include description of a new asaccharolytic species, Bacteroides salivosus, and proposal for the reclassification of the asaccharolytic species into a separate genus, Porphyromonas. Studies on the pathogenicity and virulence of black-pigmented Bacteroides species have identified Bacteroides gingivalis as the most virulent species. B. gingivalis and Bacteroides intermedius have been associated with periodontal diseases; Bacteroides endodontalis is isolated specifically from infections in the oral cavity, and other black-pigmented Bacteroides species are recovered from oral mucous sites. DNA restriction endonuclease analysis was adapted for typing of B. gingivalis and B. intermedius.