This study demonstrated that distal branches of the anterior cerebral artery (ACA) are joined by interarterial anastomoses to rami of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in the normal Wistar rat. Arteries of 36- and 56-day-old animals were dilated with papaverine and injected with Vultex. Vultex arrived at corresponding ACA and MCA collaterals simultaneously as determined by microscopy through a skull window and photography. There were about 29 ACA-MCA junctions per hemisphere. Junction density was nearly constant along the frontal-occipital axis. The anastomoses were most numerous between 2 and 3 mm lateral to the midline and were less than 120 micron in internal diameter. No significant difference was found between total numbers of junctions for right versus left hemispheres or between age groups. The most evident collateral pattern was characterized by two ACA end rami joining two MCA end branches to form a closed, diamond-shaped collateral unit. Considerations were given to alternate routes of blood flow into the MCA tissue field. We conclude abundant dorsal anastomoses exist in 36- and 56-day-old rats and are the prime potential source for ACA collateral supply to the MCA tissue field.