A panel of 20 anti-Plasmodium vivax female gamete mAb has been established and was characterized with respect to their transmission-blocking properties in membrane-feeding experiments and their target Ag identified. Seven mAb suppressed the infectivity of P. vivax parasites to Anopheles tesselatus mosquitoes. The m.w. of the Ag recognized by these mAb were ascertained by SDS-PAGE and Western blots. Three sets of polypeptides of low Mr--20, 24, and a doublet of 37/42 kDa--have been defined as target Ag of transmission-blocking antibodies of P. vivax. All epitopes of these target Ag were found to be dependent on the tertiary conformational structure of the Ag. Polymorphism of target Ag of transmission-blocking immunity was investigated in over 30 natural isolates of P. vivax in Sri Lanka based on the reactivity of a mAb with an isolate as assessed by the indirect immunofluorescent test with the use of live extracellular female gametes, and in Western blots with the use of extracted gametes. The functional consequences of antigenic polymorphism on immunity was investigated in transmission-blocking assays by using membrane-feeding experiments. A majority of target Ag of transmission-blocking immunity were found to be polymorphic, exhibiting size as well as epitope polymorphism. Results indicate that failure of a mAb to affect the infectivity of a parasite isolate of P. vivax to mosquitoes can be caused by polymorphism of the target Ag among isolates.