We developed histological methods to increase precision in measuring oocyte size and, for the first time, quantify changes in oocyte composition during ovarian development in penaeids. Wild-caught female Metapenaeus dalliRacek, 1957from the Swan-Canning Estuary, Perth, Western Australia were used as a model species to compare the novel method to traditional techniques. Morphological analysis showed that ovarian development in M. Dalli occurs in five stages: immature, early maturing, late maturing, mature, and post spawning, which is consistent with other penaeids. Analysis of key morphometric parameters of length and Gonad Somatic Index (GSI) showed that GSI provided the strongest discriminators of ovarian development. Oogenesis was similar to qualitative descriptions of other penaeid prawns and most-closely related to previous descriptions of Metapenaeus affinisMilne Edwards, 1837. Comparisons between the novel perimeter tracing and traditional single linear methods for measuring oocyte dimensions showed that greater precision was achieved by tracing. This resulted in a 17-40% reduction in the confidence limits of the means for all cell types measured. A novel histological technique of examining oocyte composition was also developed. This technique allowed for the relationship between stages of ovarian development and proportion by volume of oocyte types to be determined. The difference in the proportions of cell types between each stage of ovarian development was found to be statistically significant, except between immature and post spawning females. The novel methods developed in this study provide new opportunities in the study of ovarian development in penaeids and possibly in other species.