Monoclonal antibodies specific to sea bass Ig heavy (WDI 1) and light (WDI 3) chains and T cells (DLT15) were used in an ontogenetic study of sea bass by flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry. The influence of weight and age, as well as season, on B cell development was studied in the fastest and slowest growing offspring from the same spawn (5–305 days post hatch: dph). Additionally, B and T cell development was followed in samples of different offspring (5–137 dph). The results suggest that DLT15 recognises very early (pre-?) T cells as well as mature T cells and that these very early T cells might have their origin in a different compartment and subsequently mature in the thymus. They also appeared much earlier in ontogeny (between 5–12 dph onwards) than pre-B cells having cytoplasmic Ig (from 52 dph onwards). With the monoclonal antibodies used, adult levels of T and B cells were both reached between 137–145 dph, suggesting that sea bass is immunologically mature from at least that age onwards. As in other teleosts, the thymus appears to be the primary organ for T lymphocytes and head kidney the primary organ for B lymphocytes. For sea bass, age seems to be more important in determining B cell maturation than body weight.