The taxonomy of marine vibrios has changed rapidly over the last two decades, and a wealth of new species have been identified. Many Vibrio species are pathogenic to fish and crustaceans; however, little is known about the virulence of many of the novel species. The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of various recent isolates of vibrios to cause disease in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss, Walbaum) and Crustacea, i.e. Artemia nauplii. Of 56 isolates, representing 26 species of Enterovibrio, Photobacterium and Vibrio, obtained from a diversity of healthy and diseased aquatic animal hosts and water samples from many geographical locations, Vibrio brasiliensis, V. coralliilyticus, V. ezurae, V. fortis, V. kanaloaei, V. neptunius, V. rotiferianus and V. tubiashii were pathogenic to rainbow trout and Artemia nauplii with mortalities of up to 100%. The extracellular products of these pathogenic isolates were harmful to the animal models. In contrast, cultures of Enterovibrio norvegicus, E. coralii, Photobacterium rosenbergii, Vibrio campbellii, V. chagasii, V. cyclitrophicus, V. gallicus, V. gigasii, V. hepatarius, V. hispanicus, V. lentus, V. nereis, V. pacini, V. pomeroyi, V. shilonii, V. superstes, V. tasmaniensis and V. xuii demonstrated either non- or low virulence in the animal models. © 2005 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.