We investigated changes in serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) levels and in their distribution patterns in the central nervous system (CNS) and ovary during the ovarian maturation cycle in the Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. The concentrations of these two neurotransmitters were determined by using high performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. The 5-HT concentration exhibited a gradual increase in the brain and thoracic ganglia during early ovarian stages I, II, and III, reaching a maximum at the mature ovarian stage IV, whereas DA showed its highest concentration at ovarian stage II in the brain and thoracic ganglia and then declined to its lowest concentration at ovarian stage IV. In the ovaries, 5-HT was lowest at ovarian stage I and gradually increased to a peak at ovarian stage IV. Conversely, the concentration of DA was highest at ovarian stages I and II and lowest at ovarian stage IV. In the brain, 5-HT immunoreactivity (-ir) from stage IV and DA-ir from stage II were distributed extensively in neurons of clusters 6, 11, and 17, in fibers, and in the anterior and posterior medial protocerebral, olfactory, antenna II, and tegumentary neuropils. In the circumesophageal, subesophageal, thoracic, and abdominal ganglia, both 5-HT-ir and DA-ir were detected in neuropils and surrounding neurons and fibers. 5-HT-ir and DA-ir were more intense in the thoracic ganglia than in other parts of the CNS. In the ovary, 5-HT-ir exhibited high intensity in late oocytes, whereas DA-ir was more intense in early oocytes. Thus, opposing changes occur in the levels of these two neurotransmitters and in their specific localizations in the CNS and ovary during ovarian maturation, indicating their important involvement in female reproduction.