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The superficial superior colliculus (sSC) occupies a critical node in the mammalian visual system; it is one of two major retinorecipient areas, receives visual cortical input, and innervates visual thalamocortical circuits. Nonetheless, the contribution of sSC neurons to downstream neural activity and visually guided behavior is unknown and frequently neglected. Here we identified the visual stimuli to which specific classes of sSC neurons respond, the downstream regions they target, and transgenic mice enabling class-specific manipulations. One class responds to small, slowly moving stimuli and projects exclusively to lateral posterior thalamus; another, comprising GABAergic neurons, responds to the sudden appearance or rapid movement of large stimuli and projects to multiple areas, including the lateral geniculate nucleus. A third class exhibits direction-selective responses and targets deeper SC layers. Together, our results show how specific sSC neurons represent and distribute diverse information and enable direct tests of their functional role.