Gram-positive, catalase-negative, chain-forming, coccus-shaped organisms were isolated both from intraperitoneally grown vesicles of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis and the oropharynges of laboratory-kept Mongolian jirds (Meriones unguiculatus). The strains displayed no haemolytic activity on Columbia sheep blood agar, pyrrolidonyl arylamidase activity was negative and the organisms reacted weakly with Lancefield group D antiserum. On the basis of phenotypic characteristics, the strains were tentatively identified as members of the genus Streptococcus. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies confirmed their assignment to the genus Streptococcus and revealed that Streptococcus hyointestinalis DSM 20770(T) was their closest phylogenetic neighbour (96.5 \% sequence similarity). The levels of 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity between the isolates and representatives of species of the genus Streptococcus were only 95.7-96.2 \%. On the basis of the phenotypic and molecular data presented, the isolates from Mongolian jirds represent a novel species of the genus Streptococcus, for which the name Streptococcus merionis sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is WUE3771(T) (=DSM 19192(T)=CCUG 54871(T)).