Abstract The bovine lungworm Dictyocaulus viviparus induces a highly protective immune response in the bovine host. It is consequently a particularly useful host-parasite system for the study of those antigens and immune responses which can induce protective immunity against a parasitic nematode. We have generated monoclonal antibodies to the L3 cuticle and sheath surfaces in order to define antigens present at the host-parasite interface of infective larvae. Three monoclonal antibodies generated against the surface of the infective L3 cuticle bind to a PC-like hapten, and the presence of such an epitope exposed on the cuticular surface appears to be unique to the D. viviparus L3. Six monoclonal antibodies which bind to the surface of the L3 sheath all detect an antigen which is immunodominant in immunised cattle. The possible basis and implications of such marked antigenicity of a molecule on the L3 sheath surface are discussed.