In parallel studies of Schistosoma mansoni infections in male and female CBA/J mice, major sex-related differences are seen in the development of infection and disease. Upon equal subcutaneous exposures to 45 cercariae female mice present a more severe clinical course with consequent higher mortality than male mice. By 12 weeks of infection, more than 80% of female mice die, while less than 20% of infected males succumb to infection. This greater index of mortality is apparently due to the higher susceptibility of female mice to the development of adult worms. Exposed to 45 cercariae, virtually all females develop patent infections, but 8-34% of male mice do not do so. Also, the recovery rate of adult worms per cercariae from female mice is much higher than that from males, indicating that schistosomula are more successful in developing into adult worms in female mice. Additional studies indicate that this dichotomy of schistosomiasis in the sexes is not restricted to mice of the CBA/J strain, but also occurs in C57BL/6 and outbred CF1 strain mice.