We tested the effect of two NMDA receptor antagonists, APV or MK801 (with NMDA), and the receptor agonist NMDA on the maintenance of retinal topography in frogs. Topography was assayed by measuring the dispersion of retrogradely labeled ganglion cells following a local HRP injection into the tectum. In untreated tadpoles, labeled cells covered about 5% of the retinal area. In APV- or MK801/NMDA-treated tadpoles, labeled ganglion cells covered 17% and 10% of the retinal area, respectively. Neither treatment with L-APV nor with NMDA disrupts the fidelity of the retinotectal projection. Neither APV- nor NMDA-treated ganglion cell terminals differed from untreated terminals with respect to tangential area, branch number, or branch density. These data support a role for the NDMA receptor in visual system development.