Babesia sp. BQ1 (Lintan) is a Babesia isolated from sheep infested with Haemaphysalis qinghaiensis in China, and is closely related to B. motasi based on the 18S rRNA gene sequence. In the present study, an ELISA was developed with merozoite antigens of Babesia sp. BQ1 (Lintan) (BQMA) purified from in vitro culture. When the positive threshold was chosen as 30% of the antibodies rate, evaluated with 198 negative sera, the specificity was 95·5%. Except for Babesia sp. Tianzhu, there was no cross-reaction between BQMA and positive sera from Babesia sp. BQ1 (Ningxian)-, Babesia sp. Hebei-, Babesia sp. Xinjiang-, Theileria luwenshuni-, T. uilenbergi-, or Anaplasma ovis-infected sheep, which are the dominant haemoparasites of small ruminants in China. Specific antibodies against Babesia sp. BQ1 (Lintan) were produced 1 or 2 weeks post-infection and a high level of antibodies persisted for more than 8 months in experimentally infected sheep. This ELISA was tested on 974 sera collected from field-grazing sheep in 3 counties of Gansu province, northwestern China to evaluate the seroprevalence of Babesia sp. BQ1 (Lintan) infection and the average positive rate was 66·84%. The feasibility of increasing the specificity of this BQMA-based ELISA, by using some BQMA antigens for serodiagnosis is discussed.