The signaling molecule Myostatin, a member of the TGF-beta superfamily, is crucially involved in the control of muscle growth and development in triploblastic organisms. A homolog to vertebrate myostatin and gdf8/11 was isolated from a diploblastic cnidarian, the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. Here we provide a detailed characterization of the Nematostella myostatin/gdf8/11 gene and show the first analysis of gene expression in adult polyps. This analysis revealed that myostatin/gdf8/11 is expressed in the mesenteries, which are endodermal folds, and weakly in the body wall endoderm, but largely excluded from the areas of muscle formation, the retractor and the parietal muscle. Contrary to this, in vertebrates the muscle growth inhibitor myostatin is expressed in the muscle tissue. We therefore hypothesize that myostatin/gdf8/11 in Nematostella is involved in regulating nonmuscle cell differentiation, possibly by repressing muscle differentiation.