The topography of the retinal nasal and temporal foveal projections upon the optic nerve and primary visual centers was studied in diurnal bifoveate birds of prey by means of restricted tritiated proline intraocular injection.
According to the degree of retinotopy, this study reveals that a single injection of tracer in the nasal or temporal fovea produces a well-defined and complementary pattern of projections in the following contralateral nuclei: lateral anterior thalamus, lateroventral geniculate nucleus (glv), superficial synencephalic (ss), tectal grey (gt), and optic tectum. In the thalamic nucleus dorsolateral anterior, the nasal foveal projections are seen mainly in the lateral and rostrolateral subdivision, while temproal projections are seen mainly in the magnocellular subdivision. In the external and ectomammillary nuclei there is some evidence of retinotopic innervation. Finally, a discrete field of projection from the nasal or temporal fovea is detected in lateral hypothalamus, ventrolateral thalamus, lateral geniculate intercalated nucleus, and pretectal optic area.
The nasotemporal axis of the retina is ventrodorsally oriented in the optic nerve with ganglion cell axons of the temporal fovea more dorsally placed than the nasal ones. In the primary visual centers this retinal axis is mediolaterally rpresented in the nuclei glv, ss, and gt, and dorsoventrally oriented in the optic tectum. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.