‘Rickettsiella melolonthae’ is an intracellularly multiplying bacterial pathogen of European cockchafers, Melolontha melolontha (Linnaeus, 1758) and Melolontha hippocastani (Fabricius, 1801) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). We report the first determination of nucleotide sequences from this organism, i.e. the 16S rRNA encoding rrs gene, the chaperonin encoding groEL gene and the mucZ gene encoding the orthologue of a capsule synthesis-inducing factor of Coxiella burnetii. Within the genus Rickettsiella, the pathotype ‘Rickettsiella melolonthae’ is currently classified as a synonym of the nomenclatural type species Rickettsiella popilliae. Previous sequencing of a 16S rRNA gene from a different species, Rickettsiella grylli, has motivated the transfer of the entire genus from the alphaproteobacterial order Rickettsiales to the gammaproteobacterial order Legionellales, family Coxiellaceae. We investigated the validity of this taxonomic reorganization beyond the species Rickettsiella grylli by reconstructing the organismal phylogeny from comparisons of 16S rRNA gene and GroEL and MucZ protein sequences from a selected set of alpha- and gammaproteobacteria as well as bacterial pathogens from the order Chlamydiales. Our analysis strongly supported the transfer of the genus Rickettsiella to the order Legionellales, but not its classification in one of the recognized families present in this order. Furthermore, our results substantiated inconsistencies in the internal organization of the genus. In particular, the currently accepted delineation of Rickettsiella species and the claimed synonymy of ‘Rickettsiella melolonthae’ with Rickettsiella popilliae are not simultaneously consistent with our findings.