- In this study, a female-specific DNA marker in the freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii was identified through amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). The AFLP-derived sequence-characterized amplified region (SCAR) marker was tested in over 200 individuals, giving reproducible sex identification. Further molecular characterization of the sex-marker's genomic region (∼ 3 kb long) revealed the presence of tandem and inverted repeats. The ∼ 3-kb sequence was identified both in male and female prawns, but with subtle differences: a deletion of 3 bp (present in female prawn but absent in male prawn) identified upstream of the SCAR marker sequence and two female-specific single-nucleotide polymorphisms, both indicating that male prawns are homozygous, whereas female prawns are heterozygous in this locus. Fluorescent in situ hybridization showed the ∼ 3-kb sequence to be unique: to the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a unique sex-specific sequence observed in situ in crustaceans. The sex-specific marker identified in M. rosenbergii may have considerable applied merit for crustacean culture in that it will enable the determination of genetic sex at early developmental stages when phenotypic differences are not identifiable.