Based on the results of RFLP-ribotyping, whole DNA/DNA hybridization and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene, we previously defined two genomic groups of spirochetes closely related to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato: group Hk501 for strains isolated from Ixodes tanuki ticks and group Ya501 for strains isolated from Ixodes turdus ticks. In this report, we propose that group Hk501 should be classified as Borrelia tanukii sp. nov. and group Ya501 as Borrelia turdae sp. nov. The alignment of previously published Borrelia 16S rRNA gene sequences led us to design species-specific PCR primer sets. The primers allowed the rapid identification of B. tanukii and B. turdae.