Understanding how bacteria adapt their social behavior to environmental changes is of crucial importance from both biological and clinical perspectives. is among the most common infecting agents in orthopedics, but its recalcitrance to the immune system and to antimicrobial treatments in the physiological microenvironment are still poorly understood. By means of optical and confocal microscopy, image pattern analysis, and mathematical modeling, we show that planktonic biofilm-like aggregates and sessile biofilm lifestyles are two co-existing and interacting phases of the same environmentally adaptive developmental process and that they exhibit substantial differences when is grown in physiological fluids instead of common lab media. Physicochemical properties of the physiological microenvironment are proposed to be the key determinants of these differences. Besides providing a new tool for biofilm phenotypic analysis, our results suggest new insights into the social behavior of in physiological conditions and highlight the inadequacy of commonly used lab media for both biological and clinical studies of bacterial development.