Persistent neurogenic sites, harboring neurogenic progenitor cells, which give rise to neuronal precursors throughout life, occur in different mammals, including humans. The telencephalic subventricular zone (SVZ) is the most active adult neurogenic site. Despite remarkable knowledge of its anatomical and cellular composition in rodents, detailed arrangement of SVZ in other mammals is poorly understood, yet comparative studies suggest that differences might exist. Here, by analyzing the cellular composition/arrangement in the SVZ of postnatal, young, and adult rabbits, we found a remarkably heterogeneous distribution of its chain and glia compartments. Starting from postnatal stages, this heterogeneity leads to a distinction between a ventricular SVZ and an abventricular SVZ, whereby the former contains small chains and isolated neuroblasts and the latter is characterized by large chains and a loose astrocytic meshwork. In addition to analysis of the SVZ proper, attention has been focused on its extensions, called parenchymal chains. Anterior parenchymal chains are compact chains surrounded by axon bundles and frequently establish direct contact with blood vessels. Posterior parenchymal chains are less compact, being squeezed between gray and white matter. In the shift from neonatal to adult rabbit SVZ, chains occur very early, both in the SVZ and within the brain parenchyma. Comparison of these results with the pattern in rodents reveals different types of chains, displaying a variety of relationships with glia or other substrates in vivo, an issue that might be important in understanding differences in the adaptation of persistent germinative layers to different mammalian brain anatomies. J. Comp. Neurol. 498:491–507, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.