We have studied the distributions of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors, mGluR2 and mGluR3, and a group III metabotropic glutamate receptor, mGluR4, in the adult rat retina and during postnatal development using receptor specific anti-peptide antisera. Of the three receptors examined, mGluR3 was not expressed in the retina. MGluR2 showed a distinct stratification pattern in the inner plexiform layer (IPL). Double-labelling immunocytochemistry revealed that mGluR2 was localized in the processes of cholinergic amacrine cells. MGluR4 was found throughout the entire IPL. At the subcellular level, both mGluR2 and mGluR4 were found to be localized exclusively in processes postsynaptic to bipolar cell synapses in the IPL. During postnatal development, labelling for mGluR2 was detected at around postnatal day five. MGluR4 was already present at postnatal day one, prior to the establishment of synaptic connections in the IPL. The differential expression patterns of individual metabotropic glutamate receptors in the adult and developing rat retina suggest distinct roles for these receptors in retinal synaptic circuitry.