Sixty-two strains of thermophilic aerobic endospore-forming bacteria were subjected to polyphasic taxonomic study including 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, polar lipid and fatty acid analysis, phenotypic characterization, and DNA-DNA hybridization experiments. Distinct clusters of the species Geobacillus stearothermophilus, Geobacillus thermodenitrificans, Geobacillus toebii and Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius were formed, allowing their descriptions to be emended, and the distinctiveness of the poorly represented species Geobacillus jurassicus, Geobacillus subterraneus and Geobacillus caldoxylosilyticus was confirmed. It is proposed that the name Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius be corrected to Geobacillus thermoglucosidans nom. corrig. Bacillus thermantarcticus clustered between Geobacillus species on the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, and its transfer to the genus Geobacillus as Geobacillus thermantarcticus comb. nov. (type strain LMG 23032(T)=DSM 9572(T)=strain M1(T)=R-35644(T)) is proposed. The above-mentioned species, together with Geobacillus thermoleovorans and Geobacillus thermocatenulatus, form a monophyletic cluster representing the genus Geobacillus. The distinctiveness of 'Geobacillus caldoproteolyticus' was confirmed and it is proposed that it be accommodated, along with Geobacillus tepidamans, in the genus Anoxybacillus as Anoxybacillus caldiproteolyticus sp. nov. (type strain DSM 15730(T)=ATCC BAA-818(T)=LMG 26209(T)=R-35652(T)) and Anoxybacillus tepidamans comb. nov. (type strain LMG 26208(T)=ATCC BAA-942(T)=DSM 16325(T)=R-35643(T)), respectively. The type strain of Geobacillus debilis was not closely related to any members of the genera Anoxybacillus and Geobacillus, and it is proposed that this species be placed in the new genus Caldibacillus as Caldibacillus debilis gen. nov. comb. nov. The type strain of the type species, Caldibacillus debilis, is LMG 23386(T) (=DSM 16016(T)=NCIMB 13995(T)=Tf(T)=R-35653(T)).