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Three inbred mouse strains, C57BL/6 (H-2b), A/J (H-2a), and BALB/c (H-2d), and 1 outbred strain, CD-1, demonstrated differences in susceptibility to iv challenge with the ANKA clone of Plasmodium berghei. Mice were challenged with 100, 1,000, or 10,000 sporozoites, then evaluated daily beginning on day 4 for patency. CD-1 mice were further evaluated at challenge doses of 12,500, 25,000, and 50,000 sporozoites. CS7BL/6 mice were the easiest to infect, with 90% becoming infected with 100 sporozoites. The outbred strain CD-1 was the most difficult to infect, requiring a challenge dose of 25,000 sporozoites/mouse in order to achieve a 100% infection rate. Mouse strains also demonstrated differences in their ability to be protected by intravenous immunization with gamma-irradiated sporozoites. A/J mice needed a minimum of 3 doses of irradiated sporozoites for protection against a challenge with 10,000 sporozoites. In contrast, BALB/c mice immunized with a single dose of 1,000 irradiated sporozoites are protected against a 10,000 sporozoite challenge. These data suggest that both infectivity and protection are genetically restricted and that susceptibility to infection may be inversely related to protection.