Chitinases are crucial enzymes for crustaceans. Previous researches had already revealed that chitinases play important roles in digestion, molting and defense against viruses. In the present study, a chitinase cDNA was identified from black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) and designated as PmChi-5. The full-length PmChi-5 cDNA was 2860 bp in size, containing an open reading frame (ORF) of 1731 bp that encoded a protein of 576 amino acids with a deduced molecular weight of 64.8 kDa. Expression of the PmChi-5 mRNA was ubiquitously detected in all selected tissues, with the highest level in the gill and hepatopancreas. PmChi-5 was expressed throughout the whole larvae stages, and the highest level at Mysis3 stage, which indicated that PmChi-5 may be involved in larval metamorphosis. After challenged with Streptococcus agalactiae and Vibrio harveyi, the transcripts of PmChi-5 were found to be up-regulated significantly both in hepatopancreas and gill. Besides, the ammonia nitrogen stress treatment was also carried out, PmChi-5 transcripts were significantly changed in hepatopancreas and gill. The results showed that PmChi-5 may be involved in molting, larval metamorphosis, the immune defenses to pathogens infection and ammonia-N stress.