Two halophilic anaerobic bacteria, one of which had chitinolytic activity, were isolated from a solar saltern in southern California. These organisms were long, gram-negative, motile, flexible rods. The biochemical and physiological characteristics of these bacteria were very similar but were different from the characteristics of other haloanaerobic bacteria. Both grew at salt concentrations ranging from 0.5 to 5 M and at temperatures ranging from 23 to 50°C. They were sensitive to chloramphenicol but resistant to penicillin, carbenicillin, d-cycloserine, streptomycin, and tetracycline. An analysis of DNAs and whole-cell proteins showed that they were closely related taxonomically and distinguishable from other halophilic anaerobic bacteria. They exhibited 92.3 to 100% DNA homology as determined by DNA-DNA hybridization. The guanine-plus-cytosine contents of their DNAs were 34.8±1 mol%. The two isolates, strains W5C8 and W3C1, differed from other halophilic anaerobic bacteria sufficiently to support establishment of a new genus and species, Haloanaerobacter chitinovorans. Strain W5C8 exhibited chitinolytic activity and is designated the type strain. Two chitin-induced extracellular proteins with molecular weights of 38 × 103 and 40 × 103 were detected in strain W5C8.