Vibrio vulnificus strains isolated from geographically diverse marine sources were compared with clinical isolates for phenotype and in vitro and in vivo production of virulence factors. There were no differences between environmental and clinical strains on the basis of biochemical characteristics or antimicrobial susceptibility patterns. Cytolysin and cytotoxin titers produced by environmental strains were generally comparable to those of clinical strains. Of 29 environmental isolates tested, 25 were pathogenic for mice. These data show that environmental V. vulnificus strains are phenotypically indistinguishable from clinical isolates and that approximately 90% of the environmental strains tested produced in vitro virulence factors and in vivo pathogenicity for mice comparable to those produced by clinical V. vulnificus isolates.