Vaccination of inbred jirds (Meriones unguiculatus) with 60cobalt radiation-attenuated Brugia malayi infective stage larvae (L3) protected against homologous challenge given either subcutaneously (sc) or by the intraperitoneal (ip) route. Groups of jirds vaccinated once sc with 75, 15 Krad L3 showed from 69% to 91% reduction in recovered worms after ip challenge infection compared to infection in non-vaccinated control jirds, while 75% reduction in mean worm burden was seen in jirds receiving sc challenge infection. A single sc vaccination with 75, 10 or 20 Krad L3 produced no protection (10 Krad) and 64% reduction in recovered worms (20 Krad). Therefore the 15 Krad dose appeared to be best. A marked increase in anti-B. malayi antibody in vaccinated jirds was seen (by ELISA) immediately after challenge infection and an immunofluorescence assay showed that L3 incubated in serum from vaccinated jirds were completely and uniformly covered with specific antibody. Eosinophil-rich granulomas containing dead and moribund L3 were recovered from vaccinated jirds. This model of protective immunity in a Brugia-susceptible small rodent may provide a useful system for identification of molecularly defined filarial-protective immunogens.