This study was carried out to evaluate the effects of dietary phospholipid on the development and rearing performance of pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) larvae. From day 10 post-hatching, fish larvae were weaned onto three isoproteic and isolipidic formulated diets with different phospholipid (PL) levels: 1.4 (PL1), 4.7 (PL5) and 9.5% (PL9) of dry matter, as soybean lecithin. Neutral lipid (NL) with inversed gradient was incorporated in diets. Survival, growth and deformities were monitored until day 34 post-hatching, as well as intestinal enzyme activities, leucine alanine peptidase (leu-ala), aminopeptidase N (AN) and alkaline phosphatase (AP), which were used as indicators of digestive tract maturation. This study showed that PL supplementation significantly improved growth but not survival. The increase in dietary PL from 1.4 to 9.5% led to a 50% increase in larval final weight suggesting that high PL levels are needed during larval stages of pikeperch. The incidence of deformities was not affected by dietary phospholipid level. The specific activity of brush border membrane enzymes (AN and AP) increased with dietary phospholipid levels, indicating an earlier or more efficient maturation of digestive structures. A gut maturation index based on the ratio of segmental activity of the brush border membrane enzyme AP related to segmental activity of a cytosolic enzyme, leu-ala, was significantly higher in PL5 and PL9 groups compared to PL1 group indicating that 1% phospholipid incorporation in diet was not sufficient to induce good enterocyte maturation. Diet fatty acid composition was affected by phospholipid incorporation, dietary n - 3 HUFA concentration decreasing with the incorporation of PL. Fatty acid composition in larvae reflected that of corresponding diet. The best results in growth and development obtained in the PL9 group seemed related to the PL entity, independently of its fatty acid composition. The results of this study indicate that pikeperch larvae have a relatively high PL requirement (at least 9.5% of the diet, dry weight).