||Harmful benthic dinoflagellates, usually developing in tropical areas, are expanding to temperate ecosystems facing water warming. Reports on harmful benthic species are particularly scarce in the Southern Mediterranean Sea. For the first time, three thermophilic benthic dinoflagellates (Ostreopsis cf. ovata, Prorocentrum lima and Coolia monotis) were isolated from Bizerte Bay (Tunisia, Mediterranean) and monoclonal cultures established. The ribotyping confirmed the morphological identification of the three species. Maximum growth rates were 0.59 +/- 0.08 d(-1) for O. cf. ovata, 0.35 +/- 0.01 d(-1) for C. monotis and 0.33 +/- 0.04 d(-1) for P. lima. Toxin analyses revealed the presence of ovatoxin-a and ovatoxin-b in O. cf. ovata cells. Okadaic acid and dinophysistoxin-1 were detected in P. lima cultures. For C. monotis, a chromatographic peak at 5.6 min with a mass m/z = 1061.768 was observed, but did not correspond to a mono-sulfated analogue of the yessotoxin. A comparison of the toxicity and growth characteristics of these dinoflagellates, distributed worldwide, is proposed.