The role of complement in the control of parasitemia was examined. Depletion of late components (3-9) by cobra venom factor did not alter either the degree or course of parasitemia during the pre immune or immune stages of infection. The pattern of consumption of complement components was therefore examined. Concomitant with schizont rupture there was depletion of early acting components (C1, C4, and C2) of the classical complement pathway. The magnitude and temporal relations of the fall were similar for these 3 components. Serum levels returned to prerupture values over 36-48 hr, and then the cycle was repeated. There was no simultaneous change in the levels of C3, C3 proactivator, or C6. These results delineate a new pattern of cyclical consumption of early components of the classical complement pathway associated temporally with schizont rupture and suggest that the late acting components are not required for protective host immunity in malaria.