In the present report, conflicting results regarding the pretectal complex and accessory optic system of primates are discussed. Subsequently data are presented and used in an attempt to clarify some of the issues. The retinal projections to the pretectal complex and accessory optic system of the tree shrew and squirrel monkey were examined using anterograde autoradiographic methods. These data demonstrate that, following intraocular injections of 3H-proline or 3H-fucose in the tree shrew, silver grains are apparent bilaterally over the pretectal olivary nucleus and the anterior and posterior pretectal nuclei and contralaterally over the nucleus of the optic tract. Following intraocular injections of the 3H-tracer in squirrel monkeys, dense transported label is observed bilaterally over the pretectal olivary nucleus and the nucleus of the optic tract with sparse label over the posterior and medial pretectal nuclei. In both the tree shrew and squirrel monkey, a differential retinal projection is observed, chiefly contralaterally, to all accessory optic terminal nuclei (i.e., the dorsal, lateral and medial terminal nuclei).