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Spirochaetes (or Spirochetes) are the phylum Spirochaetae. These are double-membrane bacteria with long, helically coiled (spiral-shaped) cells.

Spirochaetes are bacteria. They have flagella, which run lengthwise between the cell wall and outer membrane. The flagella cause a twisting motion which moves the spirochaete about.

Most spirochaetes are free-living and anaerobic, but there are many parasitic species.


The spirochaetes are divided into three families (Brachyspiraceae, Leptospiraceae, and Spirochaetaceae). They are all put in a single order, the Spirochaetales. Disease-causing members of this phylum include:


  1. McBride A. (2005). "Leptospirosis". Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 18 (5): 376–86. doi:10.1097/01.qco.0000178824.05715.2c . PMID 16148523 . 
  2. Schwan T (1996). "Ticks and Borrelia: model systems for investigating pathogen-arthropod interactions". Infect Agents Dis 5 (3): 167–81. PMID 8805079 . 
  3. Amat Villegas I. (2004). "Colonic spirochetes: an infrequent cause of adult diarrhea" (in Spanish). Gastroenterol Hepatol 27 (1): 21–3. PMID 14718105 . 

Other websites

  • Introduction to the Spirochetes. UCMP. [1]