In all mammals, the mitochondria of the cones of the retina are concentrated in the inner segment. Uniquely in tree-shrews (Tupaia, Scandentia, Mammalia), a "megamitochondrion" exhibiting highly specialized systems of densely packed cristae and a very electron dense matrix, is located apically in the inner segment. The ellipsoid is a solid body containing several megamitochondria and, towards its base, a large number of smaller mitochondria. The refractive index of isolated, but not oriented, inner segments of Tupaia belangeri is higher (XA = 1.405) than in any other mammal studied so far. The consistent geometrical pattern of the multilamellar crista-matrix systems, oriented longitudinally towards the outer segment, suggests an additional optical function of the megamitochondria.