We report on the expression analysis and functional characterization of IL-4/13A and IL-4/13B in goldfish. Quantitative analysis indicated the highest expression in the heart, spleen, brain, and kidney, with comparable expression patterns for both IL-4/13A and IL-4/13B. The mRNA levels of IL-4/13A and IL-4/13B in the immune cells examined were highest in macrophage and monocytes. Assessment of spleen mRNA following infection with Trypanosoma carassii, a prominent protozoan pathogen of fish, revealed decrease in IL-4/13B and arginase expression 14 days post infection, followed by an increase in IL-4/13B and arginase-2 at 28 days post infection. Recombinant forms of IL-4/13A and IL-4/13B induced an increase in arginase activity in macrophages in a dose-dependent manner. Recombinant IL-4/13A and IL-4/13B also induced significant increase in mRNA levels of arginase −2 in macrophages at 6, 12, 18 and 24 h after treatment. Furthermore, treatment with both IL-4/13 recombinants interfered with the IFNγ-induced nitric oxide response of macrophages. Our results suggest a conserved role of IL-4/IL-13 in induction of alternative activation phenotype in teleost macrophages.