Infusion of sodium selenite to the occipital cortex of the rat was used for the specific tracing of zinc-rich pathways. Large numbers of labeled somata were found ipsilaterally in the visual, orbital and frontal cortices, and contralaterally in homotopic and heterotopic visual areas. Labeled neurons were also found ipsilaterally in the retrosplenial, parietal, sensory-motor, temporal and perirhinal cortex. In contrast to the cortico-cortical connections, ascending afferents to the visual cortex were not zinc-rich except for a few labeled neurons in the claustrum. Additional injections showed reciprocal zinc-rich connections between the visual cortex and the orbital and frontal cortices. The latter cortices also received ascending zinc-rich afferents from the claustrum. Selenite injections revealed the layered distribution and the morphology of these labeled neurons in the neocortex. Zinc-rich neurons were found in layers II-III, V and VI. However, none was found in layer IV. Zinc-rich somata appeared as pyramidal and inverted neurons. The contrasting chemical properties of cortical and subcortical visual afferents may account for the functional differences between these systems.