The topography of Nissl-stained cells within the retinal ganglion cell layer is examined in two closely related freshwater teleosts from the family Cyprinidae. Regardless of the close phylogenetic relationship and the sympatric habitats of the two species, pronounced differences in the number and position of areas of increased cell density are observed in their retinae. in the creek chub, Semotilus atromaculatus, a midwater crepuscular feeder, three retinal specializations or areae centrales are identified in the dorsonasal, nasal, and temporal regions of the retina. In the cutlips minnow, Exoglossum maxillingua, a benthic diurnal feeder, two areae centrales are identified in temporal and nasal retina. The upper limits of the spatial resolving power of each species are calculated from the spacing of cells within the ganglion cell layer. Differences in the arrangement of isodensity contours appear to reflect the symmetry of each species' visual environment. The development and significance of up to three visually acute zones are discussed.