|Abstract||This study identifies the bacteria associated with ectoparasitic chewing lice that live in the fur of pocket gophers. Samples of chewing lice were collected from pocket gopher hosts in Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, and Costa Rica. We used a molecular sampling method whereby total community DNA was extracted from samples of chewing lice, and PCR was used to selectively amplify small-subunit rRNA genes from bacteria. This culture-independent method yielded ca. 35 distinct lineages representing eight widely divergent groups within the domain Bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis of two lineages (Acinetobacter and Staphylococcus) provides evidence that multiple species of each group are found in chewing lice. Phylogenetic analysis also demon-strated that diversication within chewing lice may be evident in both Acinetobacter and Staphylococcus. Some clones amplified from chewing louse hosts appeared to be distinct from known species of Acinetobacter and Staphylococcus. This diversication may be the result of the extreme isolation of populations of both chewing lice and their pocket gopher hosts.