Water samples were collected aseptically several times throughout the year at nine stations on the Red Cedar River, a stream flowing through farmland and receiving effluent from several municipalities in central Michigan. Total prosthecate bacteria were enumerated by both direct and viable counting techniques. By direct techniques, these bacteria accounted for 0.62 to 1.1% of the total microflora during the study. The predominant type of appendaged bacteria was the caulobacters (Caulobacter, Asticcacaulis, and the fusiform caulobacter), which accounted for 64 to 93% of the total prosthecate forms. The others of importance were prosthecomicrobia (< 1 to 24%), including Prosthecomicrobium and Prosthecochloris; hyphomicrobia (< 1 to 15%), including Hyphomicrobium and Rhodomicrobium; and Ancalomicrobium (< 1 to 6%). The viable counts of heterotrophs also indicated that the caulobacters were the most numerous prosthecate bacteria in the stream. They ranged from fewer than 1 per ml to a maximum of almost 4,000 per ml. During the coldest period, when the total viable counts decreased to about 10(4) per ml compared to their summer high of over 10(7) per ml, the caulobacters actually increased in numbers. In December (temperature 0 to 1 C), they comprised from 0.09 to 1.0% of the viable microbial count, and in March (6.0 to 8.0 C) they accounted for 0.14 to 2.8%. The other heterotrophic prosthecate bacteria were generally found at numbers less than 1 per ml, with the exception of the December study when Hyphomicrobium was present in numbers as high as 2,400 per ml. There was no consistent correlation between the frequency of prosthecate bacteria and total coliforms in the stream during the investigation.