Brachidinium capitatum F. J. R. Taylor, typically considered a rare oceanic dinoflagellate, and one which has not been cultured, was observed at elevated abundances (up to 65 cells · mL?1) at a coastal station in the western Gulf of Mexico in the fall of 2007. Continuous data from the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB) provided cell images that documented the bloom during 3 weeks in early November. Guided by IFCB observations, field collection permitted phylogenetic analysis and evaluation of the relationship between Brachidinium and Karenia. Sequences from SSU, LSU, internal transcribed spacer (ITS), and cox1 regions for B. capitatum were compared with five other species of Karenia; all B. capitatum sequences were unique but supported its placement within the Kareniaceae. From a total of 71,487 images, data on the timing and frequency of dividing cells was also obtained for B. capitatum, allowing the rate of division for B. capitatum to be estimated. The maximum daily growth rate estimate was 0.22 d?1. Images showed a range in morphological variability, with the position of the four major processes highly variable. The combination of morphological features similar to the genus Karenia and a phylogenetic analysis placing B. capitatum in the Karenia clade leads us to propose moving the genus Brachidinium into the Kareniaceae. However, the lack of agreement among individual gene phylogenies suggests that the inclusion of different genes and more members of the genus Karenia are necessary before a final determination regarding the validity of the genus Brachidinium can be made.