The development in C3H mice of thirteen strains of Trypanosoma cruzi belonging to different zymodemes and schizodemes was studied. Host mortality, virulence, histiotropism, parasitemia and polymorphism of the parasites were recorded. The strains were grouped into: a) high virulence--causing 100% mortality and characterized by predominance of very broad trypomastigotes in the bloodstream at the end of infection; b) medium virulence--causing no mortality and with a predominance of broad trypomastigotes; c) low virulence--causing no mortality with blood forms not described due to the very low parasitemia. During 18 months maintenance the parasitemia curves were kept constant for all strains except one. A direct correlation between either zymodeme or schizodeme and experimental biological properties of T. cruzi strains was not found. However, the parasitemia was subpatent and patent for strains from zymodeme C and the others respectively. Furthermore the high virulence seems to be related to one of two schizodemes found within zymodeme B strains. All strains presenting patent parasitemia independent of shizodeme and zymodeme showed a myotropism towards heart and skeletal muscle with variable inflammatory intensity. The present study confirmed the heterogeneity found by isoenzyme and k-DNA patterns among the strains of T. cruzi isolated from chagasic patients in Bambuí, Minas Gerais State, Brasil.