The retinal projections of the shark Scyliorhinus canicula were investigated using both the degeneration technique after eye removal and the radioautographic method following the intraocular injection of various tritiated tracers (proline, leucine, fucose, adenosine). The results showed contralateral projection via different optic tract components (TOM, AOT, TOm, TOl, ROVm, RODm) to various areas and nuclei of the hypothalamus (NSC), thalamus (NODLAT, NODMAT, NTTOM, NOVT, NODPT), pretectum (NOPC, NOCPd, NOCPv), tectum (SFGS, SGI) and mesencephalic tegmentum (AOTMd, NOTMv). Ipsilateral retinal projections were found to arborize within 7 distinct zones at the hypothalamic (NSC), thalamo-pretectal (NODLAT, NTTOM, NOVT, NOPC, NOCpd) and tectal (SFGS) levels. A comparison of the data with those previously obtained in different species of elasmobranchs and batoids indicate the existence of a common and consistent pattern of organization of the primary visual system in all selachians. Many of the discrepancies reported in studies on the organization of selachian retinal projection may be listed to methodological differences and/or interspecies variations in the cytoarchitecture of the different visual centers. Moreover, a comparison of the primary visual system of more primitive squalomorph sharks with that of the more advanced galeomorph sharks and batoids suggests that this system evolved through an increase in the neuronal density of the target structures and transformations in the dendritic configurations of the postsynaptic neurons rather than through an increase in the total number of projection zones.