Identification of N. gonorrhoeae and Related Species

Taxonomy of the Family Neisseriaceae

Neisseria species and the related species Moraxella catarrhalis and Kingella denitrificans belong to the family Neisseriaceae. The genera Moraxella and Acinetobacter are also included in the family Neisseriaceae. These genera are distinguished by the characteristics shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Differential characteristics of genera assigned to the family Neisseriaceae

Characteristic Genus (Species)
Neisseria* M. catarrhalis Kingella Moraxella Acineto-
M. urethralis**
Cells Diplococci
Diplococci Coccobacilli Rods Rods Rods
Oxidase + + + + +
Catalase + + + + +
Acid from
[+] + D
+ D +

*Species of human origin: Neisseria gonorrhoeae, N. meningitidis, N. gonorrhoeae subspecies kochii N. lactamica, N. polysaccharea, N. cinerea, N. flavescens N. subflava biovars subflava, flava, and perflava, N. sicca, N. mucosa, N. elongata
Species of animal origin: N. canis, N. macacae, N. weaverii, N. iguanae and the species incertae sedis (taxonomic position uncertain) N. caviae, N. ovis, N. cuniculi
**Species incertae sedis.
***N. elongata, N. weaverii are rods


Bovre K. 1984. Family VIII. Neisseriaceae Prevot, p. 288-309. In N. R. Krieg (ed.). Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, vol. 1. The Williams & Wilkins co., Baltimore.