Research Article

The inheritance of thiabendazole resistance in Haemonchus contortus

L. F. Le Jambrea1, W. M. Royala1 and P. J. Martina1

a1 CSIRO Division of Animal Health, Pastoral Research Laboratory, Armidale, N.S.W. 2350


Haemonchus contortus worm populations isolated from naturally infected sheep at the Pastoral Research Laboratory, Armidale, N.S.W., were found to contain approximately 20% of worms resistant to a 50 mg/kg dose of thiabendazole. Following 3 generations of selection with 50 mg/kg thiabendazole the number of worms removed by the anthelmintic was too small to detect differences between treated and control groups. After more than 15 generations of selection, matings between males from the selected strain and non-resistant females produced resistant males and females in equal numbers. Thus, thiabendazole resistance does not appear to be sex-linked. A dose–response assay on the F2 adults indicated that worms from female resistant × male non-resistant crosses were more resistant than F2 adults of the reciprocal cross. An in vitro technique that identified thiabendazole-resistant eggs by their ability to hatch in a solution containing thiabendazole and 0·1% NaCl solution was also used to study the inheritance of resistance. F1 eggs had similar LC50's to the resistant parents. F2 and back-cross eggs from an original mating of thiabendazole-resistant females × non-resistant males had a higher LC50 than F2 and back-cross eggs from the reciprocal mating, indicating a degree of matroclinous inheritance of resistance. However, the resistant parents had tolerances to thiabendazole exceeding those of F2. F3 eggs had a resistance distribution that ranged from that of the resistant to the non-resistant parent. No significant deviation from linearity was observed in any of the dose–response lines. These results indicate that thiabendazole resistance in H. contortus worms is inherited as an autosomal and semi-dominant trait.

(Received November 24 1977)