Sporozoites of Theileria parva rapidly enter bovine lymphocytes by a mechanism of passive endocytosis that depends upon progressive circumferential binding of ligands on the parasite to receptors on the host-cell membrane. Within 10 min of entry, the micronemes of the sporozoite discharge their content and the enveloping host-cell membrane is lysed. The host cell responds within 30 min of invasion by polymerization of microtubules arrayed tangential to the sporozoite and converging upon the cytocentrum. Multivesicular bodies and lysosomes are generated and gather around the parasite but are ineffective in the absence of an endocytotic membrane with which they can fuse. Thus Theileria parva can be added to the category of obligate intracellular parasites that ensure their survival by lysis of the parasitophorous vacuole.