Abstract This paper reported the isolation and the phylogenetic analysis of a free-living Gymnodinium-like dinoflagellates (G. sp. (15)) from the sea water collected at Jiaozhou bay, Qingdao, Shandong Province, P.R. China. Phylogenetic reconstruction analysis with Neighbor-Joining (NJ) method using sequences of variable regions (V1+V2+V3) of the small subunit (SSU) rDNA indicated that G. sp. (15) was a Symbiodinium sp., which was closely related to a symbiont of anemones, S. californium, and the free-living strain, Gymnodinium varians. These three strains formed a new clade (which had been designated as clade F) with 100% bootstrap support. Sequence comparison showed that sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of these three strains were highly homologous, suggesting that they might belong to one species.