Following parasitization by Plasmodium falciparum, numerous changes take place in the host erythrocyte membrane. In this study, we used the technique of whole cell mount electron microscopy to determine if the ultrastructure of the erythrocyte cytoskeleton changed following parasitization with knobby and knobless strains of P. falciparum. Using this technique, a network of spectrin filaments (3-10 X 45-120 nm) branching from electron dense junctions (15-25 nm in diameter), the presumed site of bands 4.1 and actin, were visualized. The overall architecture of normal and parasitized erythrocyte cytoskeletons was the same: however, additional patches (35 to 60 nm in size) and aggregates (30 X 150 nm) of electron dense material were present in parasitized skeletons. The ultrastructure of knobby and knobless cytoskeletons was similar, except knobless skeletons usually did not possess the larger aggregates of material. Antigens associated with the erythrocyte cytoskeleton of cells infected with knobby and knobless strains, but not uninfected cells, were demonstrated by indirect immunofluorescence. Results suggest that antigens, associated with the erythrocyte cytoskeleton, may contribute to perturbations in the host erythrocyte membrane.