Patterns of susceptibility of gram-negative anaerobic bacilli to antibiotics have been found to be distinctive and of significant help in classification and identification. Five major groups of gram-negative anaerobic bacilli have been defined on the basis of morphological and biochemical criteria. Antibiotic sensitivity patterns conform to these groupings and provide additional taxonomic criteria. The Bacteroides fragilis group is resistant to penicillin G, whereas the other groups are generally sensitive. B. fragilis strains are relatively sensitive to erythromycin, whereas the Sphaerophorus necrophorus group is resistant. B. melaninogenicus strains, B. oralis, and Fusobacterium are all more sensitive to kanamycin and neomycin than the other two groups. Kanamycin is more active against Fusobacterium strains than neomycin, but less active against all other groups. Colistin or polymyxin B is useful for distinguishing between the resistant B. fragilis and the sensitive S. necrophorus. Antibiotic susceptibility determinations may be more readily performed in clinical laboratories than certain biochemical tests recommended for differentiation of the gram-negative anaerobic bacilli and may serve as helpful adjuncts to morphological and biochemical observations in classifying and characterizing these organisms. The use of standardized procedures for antibiotic susceptibility tests is essential if comparable results are to be obtained in different laboratories.