The distribution, cross-sectional area, and presynaptic and postsynaptic characteristics of retinal ganglion cell axon terminals in the superior colliculus of normal adult female Syrian hamsters were investigated by quantitative ultrastructural techniques. After an intravitreal injection of horseradish peroxidase, most labelled axon terminals were found in the stratum griseum superficiale and stratum opticum of the contralateral superior colliculus. However, a small proportion (approximately 2%) of retinal ganglion cell axon terminals were located in deeper layers of the superior colliculus between the stratum opticum and the periaqueductal grey matter. Terminals were smaller in the upper two-thirds of the stratum griseum superficiale than in the lower one-third of this layer, the stratum opticum, and the stratum griseum intermedium. Presynaptic characteristics such as the length and number of contacts and the postsynaptic neuronal domains (somata, dendritic spines, or shafts) contacted by retinal ganglion cell axons in the superior colliculus were similar in all layers.