Ultrastructural changes induced in vitro by thiabendazole, levamisole, pyrantel and ivermectin in the free living larval stages of two trichostrongyles (Heligmosomoides polygyrus and Haemonchus contortus) were analysed. The observed damage for each anthelmintic is related to the known mode of action and compared to the damage commonly described in adults. The advantage of using larvae to study the effects of anthelmintics on the fine structure of nematodes rather than adults is described. Thiabendazole induced alteration of the cellular organization especially epithelial cells of the digestive tract. Changes in mitochondria were also seen. Levamisole caused contraction of muscle fibres whereas no specific lesions were observed with pyrantel. Ivermectin caused an hypertrophy of muscular groups. The interest of such a technique in research on the modes of action of anthelmintics is emphasized.