A novel extremely halophilic archaeon was isolated from the Dead Sea. This isolate is rod shaped and, like Halobacterium sodomense, requires a relatively low level of sodium ions for growth and a very high level of magnesium; optimal growth occurs in the presence of 0.6 to 1.0 M Mg2+. The new strain resembles members of the Halobacterium saccharovorum-Halobacterium sodomense-Halobacterium trapanicum group in many physiological properties. However, the polar lipid composition of this organism is characteristic of representatives of the genus Haloferax; a sulfated diglycosyl diether is present, and the glycerol diether analog of phosphatidylglycerosulfate is absent. The G+C content of the DNA is 70 mol%. We found that on the basis of 16S rRNA sequence data our new isolate occupies a position intermediate between the position of the Halobacterium saccharovorum group and the position of the genus Haloferax and is sufficiently different from the previously described members of the Halobacteriaceae to justify classification in a new species and a new genus. We propose the name Halobaculum gomorrense gen. nov., sp. nov. for this organism; the type strain is strain DSM 9297.