Ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin exhibited mechanism A (requires cell division as well as bacterial protein and RNA synthesis to kill bacteria) and C (active against nondividing bacteria but requires protein and RNA synthesis) against the reference strain Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923, yet only mechanism A was exhibited by these fluoroquinolones when tested against three clinical isolates: S. aureus Sa-215, Staphylococcus epidermidis Se-81 and Staphylococcus haemolyticus Sx-1. On the contrary, fleroxacin exerted mechanism A and C against the three clinical isolates but only mechanism A against the reference strain. Ofloxacin displayed mechanism A against S. epidermidis Se-81, mechanism A and C against S. haemolyticus and mechanism A and B (active against nondividing bacteria and does not require protein and RNA synthesis) against the two S. aureus tested. Sparfloxacin showed mechanism A and C against the four Staphylococcus species studied, and temafloxacin was the only fluoroquinolone tested that exhibited mechanism A and B against the four bacterial strains assayed. No correlation was found between the in vitro bactericidal activity (expressed as minimum inhibitory concentration and optimal bactericidal concentration) and the mechanisms of action exhibited by these fluoroquinolones.