The antigenic relationships of four genomically divergent strains of equine herpesvirus 2 (EHV2.86/67, EHV2.5FN, EHV2.141 and EHV2.T-2) and equine herpesvirus 5 (EHV5) were examined in ELISA using a panel of EHV2.86/67 gB-specific MAbs. EHV2.86/67 and EHV2.5FN were shown to be more similar to each other than to EHV2.T-2, EHV2.141 or EHV5. Seven of nine EHV2.86/67 gB specific MAbs tested in serum neutralisation assays were shown to neutralise EHV2.86/67 and EHV2.5FN but not EHV2.141, EHV2.T-2 or EHV5. The complete nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of EHV2.86/67, EHV2.5FN, EHV2.141 and EHV2.T-2 gB were compared and contrasted with each other and with EHV5 gB. The four EHV2 strains were 94-96% similar at the amino acid level and variability in amino acid sequence mapped to three mains sites designated I, II and III. By contrast, the four EHV2 strains were 77-79% similar to EHV5 gB at the amino acid level. The epitope of these seven gB specific neutralising MAbs has been previously mapped to amino acids 29-74 of EHV2 gB and examination of the deduced amino acid sequence of the four sequenced strains localised the epitope of the seven MAbs to amino acids 30 to 49 located within Site I. Six other divergent strains of EHV2 were examined for variability at Site I using DNA sequencing. Examination of the deduced amino acid sequences of all ten EHV2 strains tested indicated, that based on the epitope of the neutralising MAbs the EHV2 strains formed two distinct antigenic groups, EHV2.86/67-like and EHV2.141-like. EHV5 gB showed divergence from all of the EHV2 gB sequences between amino acids 29-74.