All members of the IS1248 family residing in the genome of Paracoccus denitrificans have been isolated by using a set of insertion sequence entrapment vectors. The family consists of five closely related members that integrate the entrapment vectors at distinct sites. One of these, IS1248b, was sequenced and, except for a single base change, shown to be identical to the previously isolated IS1248a. Southern analysis of genomic DNA with labeled IS1248 revealed different hybridization patterns for different isolates of P. denitrificans and Thiosphaera pantotropha. No hybridization was observed with DNA from Thiobacillus versutus and more distantly related species. From a comparison of the fingerprints it was shown that one of the members of the IS1248 family found in P. denitrificans DSM413 is absent in strain NCIB8944, although they are catalogued in international strain catalogues as identical strains. Furthermore, strains Pd1222 and Pd1235, both derivatives of P. denitrificans DSM413, were shown to have different patterns of IS1248 hybridizing restriction fragments. In 14 of 18 strains, the entrapment vectors used in this study were incorporated into the genome via IS1248-mediated cointegrate formation. In the other four strains, the entrapment vectors were shown to be integrated through a different mechanism not involving IS1248.