Previous studies demonstrated that Mycoplasma arthritidis strain 158 acquired a high degree of virulence upon lysogenization with bacteriophage MAV1. In the present study, the association between MAV1 and virulence was reexamined by creating new lysogens of 158 and of a relatively avirulent mutant, strain 158-1. In the absence of lysogenization, 158 was more virulent than expected. The virulence of 158 and 158-1 did not increase upon lysogenization. A major antigenic difference between 158 and 158-1 was identified that is unrelated to MAV1 and could account for the difference in virulence.