Temperature influences nearly all biochemical, physiological and life history activities of fish, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the temperature acclimation remains largely unknown. Previous studies have identified many temperature-regulated genes in adult tissues; however, the transcriptional responses of fish larvae to temperature stress are not well understood. In this study, we characterized the transcriptional responses in larval zebrafish exposed to cold or heat stress using microarray analysis. In comparison with genes expressed in the control at 28 °C, a total of 2680 genes were found to be affected in 96 hpf larvae exposed to cold (16 °C) or heat (34 °C) for 2 and 48h and most of these genes were expressed in a temperature-specific and temporally regulated manner. Bioinformatic analysis identified multiple temperature-regulated biological processes and pathways. Biological processes overrepresented among the earliest genes induced by temperature stress include regulation of transcription, nucleosome assembly, chromatin organization and protein folding. However, processes such as RNA processing, cellular metal ion homeostasis and protein transport and were enriched in genes up-regulated under cold exposure for 48 h. Pathways such as mTOR signalling, p53 signalling and circadian rhythm were enriched among cold-induced genes, while adipocytokine signalling, protein export and arginine and praline metabolism were enriched among heat-induced genes. Although most of these biological processes and pathways were specifically regulated by cold or heat, common responses to both cold and heat stresses were also found. Thus, these findings provide new interesting clues for elucidation of mechanisms underlying the temperature acclimation in fish.