The complement system in fish is well developed and plays an important role in the immune response. Very little is known about the ontogeny of C3 in fish and no study has previously been done on the development of C3 in teleosts. In this study we have detected the presence of C3 in cod larvae from the age of 1 day post hatching (p.h.) till 57 days p.h., using immunohistochemistry. The specific primary antibodies used, were produced against the β-chain of cod C3. Immunostaining on cod larvae sections revealed that C3 is detectable in the yolksac membrane from day 1 p.h., and in liver, brain, kidney and muscle from day 2 p.h. C3 was also detected in other organs such as eye, notochord, stomach, intestines, pancreas, heart and gills at different stages of cod larval development. These findings suggest that complement is not only important in immune defence against invading pathogens but may also play a role in the formation and generation of different organs.