Two CXC chemokines in Nile tilapia ( On -CXC1 and On -CXC2) were identified at both the genomic and proteomic levels. A southern blot analysis and comparison searching in Ensembl confirmed the typical structure of the CXC chemokine genes and provided evidence for unusual mechanisms used to generate the two different CXC chemokine transcripts that have not been reported in other vertebrate species so far. The expression levels of On -CXC1 and On -CXC2 were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR. These two mRNAs were detected in various tissues of normal Nile tilapia, especially in the spleen, heart, and head kidney, indicating a homeostatic function in immunosurveillance. A time-course experiment clearly demonstrated that these two transcripts were effectively enhanced in the head kidney, spleen and trunk kidney of Nile tilapia 6, 12 and 24 h after injection with Streptococcus agalactiae but were down-regulated in all tested tissues at 48 h, reflecting the fact that they have short half-lives during the crucial response to pathogens that is characteristic of CXC chemokine genes in other vertebrates. Functional analyses obviously exhibited that these two CXC chemokines at concentrations of 1–10 μg strongly inactivated S. agalactiae and Flavobacterium columnare and effectively induced phagocytosis of leukocytes in vitro.