This paper examines the influence of water on the ecology of the eggs of Nematodirus battus, with a view to estimating the importance of including rainfall in mathematical models of parasite abundance. The literature suggests that, under pasture conditions, the availability of moisture is unlikely to be limiting for egg development, while eggs and infective larvae are highly resistant to desiccation. In the presented experiment, eggs that had been kept in salt sludges at 95% and 70% RH and were subsequently put at 15 degrees C produced only a mildly accelerated, but not a mass, hatch, in the first few days after return to water. Eggs kept at higher osmotic pressures died. Mass hatching of infective larvae, described at pasture when spells of rain follow periods of drought, is unlikely to occur as the result of a sudden water influx into eggs. Since water is not necessary for migration of infective larvae from the soil on to grass, such peaks in larval abundance are more likely to arise from the effects of temperature on hatching of eggs.