Hox genes are expressed in domains with clear anterior borders exhibiting 3'-->5' hierarchy in hindbrain and in the pharyngeal area commonly in vertebrate embryos. Teleost embryos form seven pharyngeal arches, the mandibular arch, hyoid arch and the gill arches 1-5. We previously reported that, in Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) embryos, Hoxd-4 is expressed from rhombomere 7 to the spinal cord in the central nervous system and at gill arches 2-5. At present, the hierarchy of Hox genes at gill arches 3-5 of teleost fish is unclear. Here, we investigated the expression domains of Hoxb-5 in the flounder embryo by whole-mount in situ hybridization to gain insight into the Hox code at gill arches. The initial signal indicating Hoxb-5 expression was identified in the spinal cord at hatching, corresponding with the prim-5 stage of zebrafish. Then, intense signals were detected from the anterior part of the spinal cord and from the posterior part of the pharyngeal area at 36 h after hatching. By serially sectioning the hybridized embryos, it was found that signal in the pharyngeal area came from the most posterior gill arch 5. Therefore, it is speculated that Hoxb-5 functions in regional identification of gill arch 5 in this teleost.