Protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) 1 is the most conserved and widely distributed PRMT in eukaryotes. PRMT8 is a vertebrate-restricted paralogue of PRMT1 with an extra N-terminal sequence and brain-specific expression. We use zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a vertebrate model to study PRMT8 function and putative redundancy with PRMT1. The transcripts of zebrafish prmt8 were specifically expressed in adult zebrafish brain and ubiquitously expressed from zygotic to early segmentation stage before the neuronal development. Whole-mount in situ hybridization revealed ubiquitous prmt8 expression pattern during early embryonic stages, similar to that of prmt1. Knockdown of prmt8 with antisense morpholino oligonucleotide phenocopied prmt1-knockdown, with convergence/extension defects at gastrulation. Other abnormalities observed later include short body axis, curled tails, small and malformed brain and eyes. Catalytically inactive prmt8 failed to complement the morphants, indicating the importance of methyltransferase activity. Full-length prmt8 but not prmt1 cRNA can rescue the phenotypic changes. Nevertheless, cRNA encoding Prmt1 fused with the N-terminus of Prmt8 can rescue the prmt8 morphants. In contrast, N-terminus- deleted but not full-length prmt8 cRNA can rescue the prmt1 morphants as efficiently as prmt1 cRNA. Abnormal brain morphologies illustrated with brain markers and loss of fluorescent neurons in a transgenic fish upon prmt8 knockdown confirm the critical roles of prmt8 in neural development. In summery, our study is the first report showing the expression and function of prmt8 in early zebrafish embryogenesis. Our results indicate that prmt8 may play important roles non-overlapping with prmt1 in embryonic and neural development depending on its specific N-terminus.