We have identified chromosomal regions containing quantitative trait loci (QTLs) specifying life history traits in recombinant-inbred strains of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. This approach also allows us to examine epistatic interactions between loci and pleiotropic effects on different traits at specific loci. QTLs for mean life span were identified on chromosomes II (near stP101), IV (stP5) and the X (stP61), and QTLs for fertility were identified on II (maP1), III (stP19) and IV (stP51). The QTLs for mean life span accounted for 90% of the genetic component of variance. The loci for mean fertility accounted for 88% of the genetic component of variance. Additional QTLs for temperature-sensitive fertility [II (stP36) and V (stP6)] and internal hatching [IV (stP5)] were also mapped in these crosses. We found evidence for epistatic effects on mean life span between maP1 and bP1 (V), and for epistatic effects on mean fertility between stP36 and stP6, between stP98 (II) and stP192 (V), between maP1 and stP127 (III), between maP1 and stP103 (X), and between stP5 and stP6. Negatively correlated, pleiotropic effects on mean life span and internal hatching were found linked to stP5.