European chub Leuciscus cephalus collected from five localities in the lowland and subalpine regions of Austria were analysed for oestrogenic effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals and the presence of the plerocercoid of the tapeworm Ligula intestinalis. Of 1494 chub analysed, only seven (six males, one female) were found to be infected with single, but large plerocercoids up to 15 cm in length. Ligula-infected fish showed comparatively immature gonads, as demonstrated by the gonadosomatic index and gamete developmental stages. Plasma levels of the egg precursor protein vitellogenin also showed concentrations ranging below the detection limit. The present results indicate that chub infected with L. intestinalis and exposed to exogenous oestrogenic compounds can result in reduced gonadal maturation and produce false oestrogen-positive diagnoses in male fish. For plasma vitellogenin levels, L. intestinalis infections can result in false oestrogen-negative diagnoses in male and female fish.