A ganglion cell density map was produced from the Nissl-stained retinal whole mount of the Japanese quail. Ganglion cell density diminished nearly concentrically from the central area toward the retinal periphery. The mean soma area of ganglion cells in isodensity zones increased as the cell density decreased. The histograms of soma areas in each zone indicated that a population of small-sized ganglion cells persists into the peripheral retina. The total number of ganglion cells was estimated at about 2.0 million. Electron microscopic examination of the optic nerve revealed thin unmyelinated axons to comprise 69% of the total fiber count (about 2.0 million). Since there was no discrepancy between both the total numbers of neurons in the ganglion cell layer and optic nerve fibers, it is inferred that displaced amacrine cells are few, if any. The spectrum in optic nerve fiber diameter showed a unimodal skewed distribution quite similar to the histogram of soma areas of ganglion cells in the whole retina. This suggests a close correlation between soma areas and axon diameters. Retinal ganglion cells filled from the optic nerve with horseradish peroxidase were classified into 7 types according to such morphological characteristics as size, shape and location of the soma, as well as dendritic arborization pattern. Taking into account areal ranges of somata of each cell type, it can be assumed that most of the ganglion cells in the whole retinal ganglion cell layer are composed of type I, II and III cells, and that the population of uniformly small-sized ganglion cells corresponds to type I cells and is an origin of unmyelinated axons in the optic nerve.