Trichostrongylus colubriformis (Strongylida), a small intestinal nematode of small ruminants, is a major cause of production and economic losses in many countries. The aims of the present study were to define the transcriptome of the adult stage of T. colubriformis, using 454 sequencing technology and bioinformatic analyses, and to predict the main pathways that key groups of molecules are linked to in this nematode. A total of 21,259 contigs were assembled from the sequence data produced from a normalized cDNA library; 7876 of these contigs had known orthologues in the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and encoded, amongst others, proteins with 'transthyretin-like' (8.8%), 'RNA recognition' (8.4%) and 'metridin-like ShK toxin' (7.6%) motifs. Bioinformatic analyses inferred that relatively high proportions of the C. elegans homologues are involved in biological pathways linked to 'peptidases' (4%), 'ribosome' (3.6%) and 'oxidative phosphorylation' (3%). Highly represented were peptides predicted to be associated with the nervous system, digestion of host proteins or inhibition of host proteases. Probabilistic functional gene networking of the complement of C. elegans orthologues (n=2126) assigned significance to particular subsets of molecules, such as protein kinases and serine/threonine phosphatases. The present study represents the first, comprehensive insight into the transcriptome of adult T. colubriformis, which provides a foundation for fundamental studies of the molecular biology and biochemistry of this parasitic nematode as well as prospects for identifying targets for novel nematocides. Future investigations should focus on comparing the transcriptomes of different developmental stages, both genders and various tissues of this parasitic nematode for the prediction of essential genes/gene products that are specific to nematodes.