The stuctural organization of the first optic ganglion (lamina) of the cockroach (Periplaneta americana) was investigated by the use of light and electron microscopy. Each compound eye of the cockroach is composed of up to 2000 visual units (ommatidia) of the fused rhabdom type. The ommatidia themselves consist of eight receptor cells which terminate as axons in either the first or second optic ganglion. Three different short visual fibre types end in two separate strata in the lamina, and one long fibre type ends in the second optic ganglion. Monopolar second-order neurons with wide field branching patterns in the middle stratum of the first synaptic region have postsynaptic contacts with sort visual fibres. Horizontal fibre elements with branching patterns at different levels of the lamina apparently from three horizontal plexuses with presynaptic and/or postsynaptic connections to first-and second-order neurons. The lack of well-organized fibre cartridges containing a constant number of first and second order neurons in each fascicle and the presence of only unistratified wide field monopolar cells could represent, as compared to other insect orders, a primitive stage in the development of the first optic ganglion.