The gustavus gene is required for localizing pole plasm and specifying germ cells. Research on gustavus gene expression will advance our understanding of the biological function of gustavus in animals. A cDNA encoding gustavus protein was identified and termed MnGus in the oriental river prawn Macrobrachium nipponense. Bioinformatic analyses showed that this gene encoded a protein of 262 amino acids and the protein belongs to the Spsb1 family. Real-time quantitative PCR analyses revealed that the expression level of MnGus in prawn embryos was slightly higher at the cleavage stage than at the blastula stage, and reached the maximum level during the zoea stage of embryos. The minimum level of MnGus expression occurred during the perinucleolus stage in the ovary, while the maximum was at the oil globule stage, and then the level of MnGus expression gradually decreased with the advancement of ovarian development. The expression level of MnGus in muscle was much higher than that in other tissues in mature prawn. The gustavus cDNA sequence was firstly cloned from the oriental river prawn and the pattern of gene expression was described during oocyte maturation, embryonic development, and in other tissues. The differential expression patterns of MnGus in the embryo, ovary and other somatic tissues suggest that the gustavus gene performs multiple physiological functions in the oriental river prawn.