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Summary:  Research on innate immunity of the penaeid shrimps and the oyster Crassostrea gigas is motivated greatly by economical necessities. Indeed, the aquaculture of these organisms is now limited by the development of infectious diseases. Studying anti-microbial peptides/proteins (AMPs), which are effector molecules of the host defense, is particularly attractive not only for progressing basic knowledge on immunity but also because they offer various possible applications for disease management in aquaculture. AMPs are explored with a global approach, considering their structure, properties, function, gene expression, and tissue distribution during the response to infections. In shrimp, investigations of the penaeidins, which are constitutively expressed peptides, have highlighted the importance of hemocytes and hematopoiesis as major elements of the immune response, providing both local and systemic reactions. The activation of hematopoiesis must be regarded as a regulatory way for the expression and distribution of constitutively expressed immune effectors. As complementary approaches, genomics and gene profiling are promising to deepen our understanding of the anti-microbial defense of the oyster and the shrimp. However, real progress will depend also on the characterization of hemocyte lineages and hematopoiesis of these marine invertebrates as well as on the ontogenesis of their immune systems.