Kisspeptins, the products of KiSS-1 gene, have recently emerged as fundamental regulators of reproductive function in different mammalian and, presumably, non-mammalian species. To date, a single form of KiSS-1 has been described in mammals, and recently, in several fish species and Xenopus. We report herein the cloning and characterization of two distinct KiSS-like genes, namely, KiSS-1 and KiSS-2, in the teleost sea bass. While KiSS-1 encodes a peptide identical to rodent kisspeptin-10, the predicted KiSS-2 decapeptide diverges at 4 amino acids (FNFNPFGLRF). Genome database searches showed that both genes are present in non-placental vertebrate genomes. Indeed, phylogenetic and genome mapping analyses suggest that KiSS-1 and KiSS-2 are paralogous genes that originated by duplication of an ancestral gene, although KiSS-2 is lost in placental mammals. KiSS-1 and KiSS-2 mRNAs are present in brain and gonads of sea bass, medaka and zebrafish. Comparative functional studies demonstrated that KiSS-2 decapeptide was significantly more potent than KiSS-1 peptide in inducing LH and FSH secretion in sea bass. In contrast, KiSS-2 decapeptide only weakly elicited LH secretion in rats, whereas KiSS-1 peptide was maximally effective. Our data are the first to provide conclusive evidence for the existence of a second KiSS gene, KiSS-2, in non-placental vertebrates, whose product is likely to play a dominant stimulatory role in the regulation of the gonadotropic axis at least in teleosts.