Avian coccidiosis is a widespread and economically significant poultry disease caused by several Eimeria species, including Eimeria tenella. Previously, E. tenella serine/threonine protein phosphatase (EtSTP) was found to be differentially expressed in drug-sensitive (DS) and drug-resistant strains using RNA-seq. In the present study, we found that transcription and translation levels of EtSTP were higher in diclazuril-resistant (DZR) strains and maduramicin-resistant (MRR) strains than in DS strains using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and Western blotting. Enzyme activity results indicated that the catalytic activity of EtSTP was higher in the two drug-resistant strains than in DS strains. Western blot and qPCR analysis also showed that expression levels of EtSTP were higher in unsporulated oocysts (UO) and second-generation merozoites (SM). Indirect immunofluorescence localization showed that EtSTP was located in most areas of the parasite with the exception of refractile bodies, and fluorescence intensity was enhanced during development. In vitro inhibition experiments showed that the ability of sporozoites (SZ) to invade cells was significantly decreased after treatment with anti-rEtSTP antibody. These results indicated that EtSTP acted mainly during the developmental and reproductive stages of the parasite and may be related to the resistance of coccidia to external drug pressure. © 2020 International Society of Protistologists.