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Strain A2 is an anaerobic, variably Gram-stain-positive, non-spore-forming, small and irregularly rod-shaped bacterium from the ruminal fluid of a sheep that has been described informally as a representative of 'Olsenella (basonym Atopobium) oviles'. Three phenotypically similar bacterial strains (lac15, lac16 and lac31(T)) were isolated in concert with Veillonella magna lac18(T) from the mucosal jejunum of a pig. A phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that strains A2, lac15, lac16 and lac31(T) formed a genetically coherent group (100 % interstrain sequence similarity) within the bigeneric Olsenella-Atopobium branch of the family Coriobacteriaceae, class Actinobacteria. This group was most closely related to the type strains of the two recognized Olsenella species, namely Olsenella uli (sequence similarity of 96.85 %) and Olsenella profusa (sequence similarity of 97.20 %). The sequence similarity to the type strain of Atopobium minutum, the type species of the genus Atopobium, was 92.33 %. Unlike those of O. uli and O. profusa, outgrown colonies of strains A2, lac15, lac16 and lac31(T) were opaque and greyish-white with an umbonate elevation on solid culture media. The four novel strains were characterized as being well-adapted and presumably indigenous to the gastrointestinal tract of homoeothermic vertebrates: they were mesophilic, microaerotolerant, neutrophilic and acidotolerant, bile-resistant, mucin-utilizing and markedly peptidolytic lactic acid bacteria. The results of DNA-DNA hybridizations, cellular fatty acid analysis and other differential phenotypic (physiological and biochemical) tests confirmed that strains A2, lac15, lac16 and lac31(T) represent a novel species of the genus Olsenella. On the basis of the genotypic and phenotypic results, we therefore describe Olsenella umbonata sp. nov., with lac31(T) ( = CCUG 58604(T) = DSM 22620(T) = JCM 16156(T)) as the type strain and A2 ( = CCUG 58212 = DSM 22619 = JCM 16157) as an additionally available reference strain. Also, based on our data, we propose emended descriptions of the genus Olsenella and the species Olsenella uli and Olsenella profusa.