Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) isolated from Wolinella recta and seven related bacteria was examined by agarose gel electrophoresis. The 23S rRNA molecule could not be detected in W. recta, Wolinella curva, Bacteroides gracilis, or Bacteroides ureolyticus. In place of the 23S molecule, there were three smaller molecules of approximately 1700, 650, and 600 bases designated 23S alpha, 23S beta, and 23S delta, respectively. An intact 23S rRNA molecule could be isolated from Wolinella succinogenes, Campylobacter concisus, and Campylobacter sputorum. The cleavage sites of the W. recta 23S rRNA molecule were located by direct RNA sequence analysis and were found to be in similar locations, nucleotides 546 and 1180, as cleavage sites described in other prokaryotes. The presence or absence of the 23S rRNA molecule may be a useful marker for these micro-organisms.