The development of neural cell topography in the retinal ganglion cell layer was examined in a teleost, the black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri). From Nissl-stained wholemounts, it was established that fish between 10 and 15 mm standard body length (SL) possess high cell densities throughout the dorso-temporal retinal quadrant, with peak cell densities located in temporal regions of the retina. However, in fish between 15 and 80 mm SL, a wide variation in the position of the peak cell density is revealed with the locations of the areae centrales (AC) ranging from exclusively temporal to periphero-dorsal retina. Fish larger than 80 mm SL always possess an AC located in the dorsal region of the dorso-temporal retinal quadrant. The topography of ganglion cells within the ganglion cell layer was determined by comparing the numbers of ganglion cells retrogradely-labeled from the optic nerve with the total population of Nissl-stained neurons (ganglion plus displaced amacrine cells) in a range of different-sized individuals. Ganglion cell topography was the same as that recorded for all Nissl-stained neurons. The feeding behavior of juveniles from metamorphosis to 80 mm SL was observed, where fish were given the choice of feeding on live food in mid-water (until 15 mm SL) or obtaining pellets from the surface or the bottom, A range of feeding patterns was recorded, with the smallest fish taking food from mid-water but individuals between 15 and 80 mm SL taking food either from the surface or the bottom or both, A correlation between the preferred mode of feeding and the position of the AC was found, such that those individuals feeding in mid-water or at the surface possess a temporal or intermediate (dorso- temporal) AC, whereas those predominantly feeding from the bottom possess a dorsal AC, Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.