Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were identified from reciprocal suppression subtractive hybridization cDNA libraries from Marsupenaeus japonicus (Kuruma shrimp) female and male gonads. The expression profiles of 24 of these ESTs were determined in female and male gonads and developing postlarvae by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. When expression was determined in gonads, six of the ESTs were expressed in ovaries only, and five of the ESTs were expressed in testes only. When expression was determined in whole individuals during postlarval development, expression of the ESTs was low and inconsistent until stage PL110 (110 days since metamorphosis from mysis stage to the first postlarval stage). At PL110, seven of the ESTs were detected in females only, and seven ESTs were detected in males only. Sex-specific expression at this developmental stage indicates that these ESTs act as important gonadal development markers and may have a role in gametogenesis.