Recent anatomical studies have suggested that the cells located in the interlaminar zones (ILZs) of the primate dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) relay visual information from the retina to the striate cortex in a manner similar to that of W-cells in the LGN of cat. In the present study, we examined this idea directly by recording the response properties of single cells localized to the ILZs in the prosimian primate, Galago crassicaudatus. The properties of the cells in the ILZs were found to be physiologically distinct from the X-like and Y-like properties of the parvocellular and magnocellular LGN layers. Moreover, the small cells located in the interlaminar zones were physiologically similar to the W-like cells found in the specialized small-celled koniocellular layers in these primates. As is the case with the koniocellular layer cells, the ILZ cells exhibited a broad range of properties which, as a group, were distinguished by the following characteristics: the ILZ cells had long latencies to stimulation of the optic chiasm (mean, 3.95 ms) and to antidromic stimulation from striate cortex (mean, 3.31 ms) and had relatively large receptive-field centers (mean, 1.79°). They also had low maintained discharge rates (5.5 spikes/s), relatively long response latencies to light (mean onset, 82 ms; peak, 112) and low peak firing rates (59 spikes/s). Few (25%) had standard receptive-field organization (ON-center, OFF-surround, or vice versa). Only 29% responded well to sine-wave gratings and all were influenced by non-visual (auditory and tactile) stimuli. Our results support the conclusion that cells located in the ILZs of primates, and perhaps all mammals, are part of a W-like system. © 1986.