Antisera to two putative neurotransmitters, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) and molluscan cardioexcitatory tetrapeptide (H-Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2; FMRF-amide), bind specifically to neurites in the inner nuclear and inner plexiform layers of the goldfish retina. Retrograde labeling showed that intraocular axon terminals originate from the nervus terminalis, whose cell bodies are located in the olfactory nerves. Double immunocytochemical and retrograde labeling showed that some terminalis neurons project to the retina; others may project only within the brain. All terminalis neurons having proven retinal projections were both LHRH- and FMRF-amide-immunoreactive. The activity of retinal ganglion cells was recorded with microelectrodes in isolated superfused goldfish retinas. In ON- and OFF-center double-color-opponent cells, micromolar FMRF-amide and salmon brain gonadotropin-releasing factor ( [Trp7, Leu8] LHRH) caused increased spontaneous activity in the dark, loss of light-induced inhibition, and increased incidence of light-entrained pulsatile response. The nervus terminalis is therefore a putatively peptidergic retinopetal projection. Sex-related olfactory stimuli may act through it, thereby modulating the output of ganglion cells responsive to color contrast.