Purpose: Complementary cone fields have been considered a unique feature of the mouse retina. In an attempt to map the arrangement of the color-specific cones in other mammals, the authors investigated the rabbit, a commonly used experimental animal for vision research.
Methods: For the identification of the different cone types immunocytochemistry was used with two monoclonal antibodies, each specific to the middle- to long-wave (red-green) and short-wave (blue) sensitive visual pigments, respectively.
Results: The major part of the retinal surface, including the visual streak, exhibited a dominance of M (middle-wave sensitive) cones (6 to 13,000/mm2) versus S (short-wave sensitive) cones (1 to 2,500/mm2). In contrast, the lower 5% to 6% of the total retinal area showed a complete lack of green cones and a high density of blue cones (11,000/mm2). The authors designate this crescent-like area the blue streak of the rabbit retina.
Conclusion: In addition to the visual streak primarily abundant in green cones, there is a specialized area of the rabbit retina that is densely and exclusively populated with blue cones. Although the relative extension of this peculiar cone field is considerably smaller than the S-field of the mouse retina, its position is similar in that it occupies the lowermost part of the retina. The functional implication of this area is unknown.