Capnocytophaga spp. contain a group of unusual sulfonolipids, called capnoids (W. Godchaux III and E. R. Leadbetter, J. Bacteriol. 144:592-602, 1980). One of these lipids, capnine, is 2-amino-3-hydroxy-15-methylhexadecane-1-sulfonic acid; the others are, apparently, N-acylated versions of capnine. The lipids were found, in amounts ranging from 2.5 to 16 mumol of capnoid sulfur per g of cells (wet weight), in two Cytophaga spp. and also in several closely related organisms: several Capnocytophaga spp., Sporocytophaga myxococcoides, two Flexibacter spp., and two Flavobacterium spp. With the exception of the flavobacteria, all of these bacteria have been shown to exhibit gliding motility. The two Flavobacterium spp. belong to a subset of that genus that shares many other characteristics with the cytophagas. Only the Capnocytophaga spp. contained large quantities of capnine as such; in all of the others, most (and possibly all) of the capnoids were present as N-acylcapnines. Capnoid-negative bacteria included some gliding organisms that may not be closely related to the cytophagas: two fruiting myxobacters, a gliding cyanobacterium (Plectonema sp.), Beggiatoa alba, Vitreoscilla stercoraria, Herpetosiphon aurantiacus, and Lysobacter enzymogenes. Nongliding bacteria representing nine genera were also tested, and all of these fell into the capnoid-negative group.