Cytoarchitectonic organization and morphology of cells of the field L complex in male zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata)

E. S. Fortune, D. Margoliash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The organization of the field L complex, a thalamorecipient auditory region in the telencephalon of birds, was examined in Nissl and Golgi preparations of male zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata). The field L complex comprises five cytoarchitectonic subdivisions: L1, L2a, L2b, L3, and L, although the border between L and L2b is not distinct. L2a is a plate extending dorsocaudally from the dorsal medullary lamina in the caudal neostriatum. L1 lies on the anterodorsal border and L3 lies on the posteroventral border of L2a. L, the area designated 'field L' by Rose (J. Psychol. Neurol., 1914, 2:278-352), forms the medial and posterior borders of the field L complex. L2b is a thick band that forms the dorsal and dorsolateral boundary of the field L complex and is continuous with L medially. Nucleus interface (NIf) is a nucleus that lies between L2a and L1 near the lateral edge of the complex. The four types of Golgi stained neurons that occur in the zebra finch field L complex correspond to those described for the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Additionally, type 3 neurons are subdivided into 'unoriented' neurons with spherical dendritic fields and 'oriented' neurons with bipolar dendritic fields. NIf contains a distinct class of neurons that have large somata with both thick and thin spiny dendrites. The distribution of Golgi cell types between the subdivisions of the field L complex corresponds to the morphology of cells seen in Nissl material. Type 3 oriented cells are found almost exclusively within L2a. L3 has significantly greater numbers of the largest cells (type 1) and significantly smaller numbers of the smallest cells (type 4) than does L1. There are no significant differences in the distribution of Golgi stained cells between L2b and L.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-404
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes



  • auditory system
  • dorsal ventricular ridge
  • Golgi impregnation
  • songbirds
  • telencephalon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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