The midgut glands (hepatopancreas) of terrestrial isopods are densely colonized by hitherto uncultivated bacteria. In the case of the Common Woodlouse, Porcellio scaber (Crustacea: Isopoda), the symbionts represent a novel lineage in the alpha-subdivision of Proteobacteria. Based on comparative sequence analysis of their 16S rRNA genes, their closest (albeit distant) relatives were among the Rickettsiales, which are intracellular symbionts or pathogens of many animals. Transmission electron microscopy and in situ hybridization with fluorescently labeled oligonucleotide probes revealed a homogeneous population of symbionts intimately associated with the endothelium of the hepatopancreas, which apparently interact with the microvilli of the brush border by means of a stalk-like cytoplasmic appendage. Based on isolated phylogenetic position and unique cytological properties, the provisional name ' Candidatus Hepatincola porcellionum' is proposed to classify this new taxon of Rickettsiales colonizing the hepatopancreas of P. scaber.