We have determined the complete nucleotide (nt) sequence of the mitochondrial genome of an oligochaete annelid, the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris. This genome contains the 37 genes typical of metazoan mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), including ATPase8, which is missing from some invertebrate mtDNAs. ATPase8 is not immediately upstream of ATPase6, a condition found previously only in the mtDNA of snails. All genes are transcribed from the same DNA strand. The largest noncoding region is 384 nt and is characterized by several homopolymer runs, a tract of alternating TA pairs, and potential secondary structures. All protein-encoding genes either overlap the adjacent downstream gene or end at an abbreviated stop codon. In Lumbricus mitochondria, the variation of the genetic code that is typical of most invertebrate mitochondrial genomes is used. Only the codon ATG is used for translation initiation. Lumbricus mtDNA is A + T rich, which appears to affect the codon usage pattern. The DHU arm appears to be unpaired not only in tRNAser(AGN), as is typical for metazoans, but perhaps also in tRNAser(UCN), a condition found previously only in a chiton and among nematodes. Relating the Lumbricus gene organization to those of other major protostome groups requires numerous rearrangements.