The thyroid hormones (THs), thyroxine (T(4)) and triiodothyronine (T(3)) are products of the thyroid gland in all vertebrates. Their role in early development and metamorphosis is well established in mammals and amphibians, respectively, and recently several studies in fish have highlighted the importance of THs during flatfish metamorphosis. THs are present in high quantities in fish eggs and are presumably of maternal origin. During embryogenesis the concentration of T(4) and T(3) in the eggs decrease until endogenous production starts. Thyroid hormone receptors (TR) have been isolated from several teleosts and in common with tetrapods two receptor isoforms have been identified, TR alpha and TR beta. Both the receptors are expressed in early embryos and larvae of the Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus), zebrafish (Danio rerio) and seabream (Sparus aurata) although a different temporal pattern is apparent. The role of THs and TRs in fish embryogenesis, larval development and during metamorphosis will be discussed.