Segments from adult fish and rat retinae were explanted on myelin-marker expressing oligodendrocytes derived from the regenerating goldfish optic nerve. Fish axons grew in high density and even rat retinal axons regenerated to considerable length on the surface of the fish oligodendrocytes, suggesting that this type of fish glia has axon-growth promoting surface components that exert their influence across species boundaries. One interesting surface component of the fish oligodendrocytes as demonstrated here is the E 587 antigen, which is related to the L1 family of cell adhesion molecules. In long term cocultures of oligodendrocytes and retinal axons, the fish glial cells were found to enwrap rat axons. This suggests that the oligodendrocytes of the regenerating goldfish optic nerve/tract may, despite striking differences, represent the equivalent to mammalian optic nerve oligodendrocytes.