The virulence of isolates of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae and M. arginini from pneumonic and unaffected ovine lungs was compared in a mouse mammary gland model. The isolates varied in their ability to induce a neutrophilic response in the mammary gland. A moderate to severe form of mastitis was induced by 3 M. ovipneumoniae isolates recovered from pneumonic lungs, while the remaining M. ovipneumoniae isolates from pneumonic lungs and those from unaffected lungs induced a very mild histopathological response. The severity of the mastitis could not be increased by the simultaneous inoculation of a mixture of 5 mycoplasma isolates. Mycoplasma arginini isolates induced only a very mild histopathological response despite having been isolated from pneumonic lungs. The finding that the 3 most virulent M. ovipneumoniae isolates were initially recovered from pneumonic ovine lungs suggested that these virulent isolates may contribute to ovine pneumonia. However, the isolation of M. ovipneumoniae from pneumonic ovine lungs does not necessarily imply that these organisms are the causal agents, since M. ovipneumoniae isolates may vary in virulence.