Aquaculture of cobia has gained popularity in the last decade, and this species is now farmed in several countries in Latin America and Asia. Despite recent improvement in production techniques that allowed the expansion of the industry, little is known about the diseases that affect cobia during the larviculture stage. In this article we investigated the cause of mass mortalities occurring 13-20 d post-hatching in 3 cycles of cobia larviculture. Wet mounts from diseased larvae gills revealed the presence of cyst-like basophilic inclusions. DNA from the cysts was extracted and PCR amplified using the 16S rRNA gene universal primers for prokaryotes. The amplified products were sequenced and analyzed using BLAST, finding a similarity of 99% with Endozoicomonas elysicola, a Gram-negative bacterium. Confirmation of E. elysicola was conducted by designing a specific probe for in situ hybridization. Specific primers were also designed for diagnostic purposes. This is the first report of epitheliocystis in cobia larvae and also the first report of E. elysicola as an epitheliocystis-causing agent.