This study describes composition and localization of several substructures of the synaptonemal complex (SC) using different techniques. The techniques which were used were surface spreading, critical point drying of isolated SCs, and sectioning of Lowicryl embedded testis material. The lateral elements (LEs) of the SC appear to be composed of three lateral substructures: two morphologically identical major strands and a third strand which is considerably thinner. The thinner strand is localized on the inner side of the two major strands of the lateral element. In late pachytene/early diplotene stages when the SC starts to disintegrate more than three strands can be observed in the LEs. A model is presented and the function of the different substructures is speculated upon.