Our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the adult neural stem cell state remains fragmentary. To provide new models on this issue, we searched for stem cells in the adult brain of the zebrafish. Using BrdU tracing and immunodetection of cell-type-specific markers, we demonstrate that the adult zebrafish telencephalon contains self-renewing progenitors, which show features of adult mammalian neural stem cells but distribute along the entire dorso-ventral extent of the telencephalic ventricular zone. These progenitors give rise to newborn neurons settling close to the ventricular zone within the telencephalon proper. They have no equivalent in mammals and therefore constitute a new model of adult telencephalic neural stem cells. In addition, progenitors from the ventral subpallium generate rapidly dividing progenitors and neuroblasts that reach the olfactory bulb (OB) via a rostral migratory stream and differentiate into GABAergic and TH-positive neurons. These ventral progenitors are comparable to the mammalian neural stem cells of the subependymal zone. Interestingly, dorsal and ventral progenitors in the adult telencephalon express a different combination of transcription factors than their embryonic counterparts. In the case of neurogenin1, this is due to the usage of different enhancer elements. Together, our results highlight the conserved and unique phylogenic and ontogenic features of adult neurogenesis in the zebrafish telencephalon and open the way to the identification of adult neural stem cell characters in cross-species comparative studies.