The major glycoprotein of the sheath of Litomosoides carinii microfilariae (gp22) was analysed for its amino acid and amino sugar composition. It is rich in proline, glutamine/glutamic acid and glycine and contains (N-acetyl)galactosamine. The N-terminal amino acid sequence was determined up to position 37. It consists of a group of 6 repeats of the pentapeptide sequence methionine-glycine-proline-glutamine-proline with two minor modifications in repeats 3–6, while the first two repeats follow the general pattern more loosely. Identical N-terminal amino acid sequences were found in at least two other sheath polypeptides (33 kDa, 39 kDa). Antisera prepared against 3 overlapping synthetic peptides corresponding to the amino terminus of gp22 recognized different epitopes. They all reacted with identical patterns of sheath polypeptides. The antisera failed to recognize antigens of 4th-stage larvae of L. carinii. In contrast, cross-reacting epitopes were detected in other parasite stages. Antisera reacted with material surrounding embryos and microfilariae in the uterus of females, and caused patchy fluorescence on the sheath of blood-derived and in vitro-released microfilariae.