Antimicrobial peptides play a major role in innate immunity. The penaeidins, initially characterized from the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, are a family of antimicrobial peptides that appear to be expressed in all penaeid shrimps. As of recent, a large number of penaeid nucleotide sequences have been identified from a variety of penaeid shrimp species and these sequences currently reside in several databases under unique identifiers with no nomenclatural continuity. To facilitate research in this field and avoid potential confusion due to a diverse number of nomenclatural designations, we have made a systematic effort to collect, analyse, and classify all the penaeidin sequences available in every database. We have identified a common penaeidin signature and subsequently established a classification based on amino acid sequences. In order to clarify the naming process, we have introduced a 'penaeidin nomenclature' that can be applied to all extant and future penaeidins. A specialized database, PenBase, which is freely available at , has been developed for the penaeidin family of antimicrobial peptides, to provide comprehensive information about their properties, diversity and nomenclature.