The family of interferon-inducible transmembrane proteins (IFITMs) plays a crucial role in inhibiting proliferation, promoting homotypic cell adhesion and mediating germ cell development. In the present study, the full-length cDNAs of zebrafish ifitm1 (744 bp) and ifitm3 (702 bp) were obtained by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis showed that ifitm1 mRNA was expressed in the ovary, testis, brain, muscle, liver and kidney, while ifitm3 mRNA was only detected in the ovary. Based on in situ hybridization, ifitm1 mRNA was found to be strongly expressed in the ooplasm from stage I to stage II and ifitm3 mRNA was also strongly expressed in the ooplasm from stage I to stage II, furthermore ifitm3 expression ultimately localized to the cortex region beneath the plasma membrane of stage IV oocytes. During development, ifitm1 expression was initially detected in the enveloping layer cells and deep layer cells of shield stage embryos. Then, throughout the segmentation phase (10.25–24 hours post-fertilization (hpf)), ifitm1 expression was mainly detected in the head, trunk and tail regions. Unlike ifitm1, ifitm3 expression was initially detected in sphere stage embryos and was then broadly expressed throughout the embryo from the 70% epiboly stage to 24 hpf. Interestingly, ifitm3 was also expressed in primordial germ cells (PGCs) from the bud stage to 24 hpf. This expression analysis indicates that zebrafish ifitm1 may play a critical role in early organogenesis and may perform immune or hematopoietic functions and ifitm3 might be necessary for PGC migration and the formation of female germ cells.