It has been argued that in order for the visual system to detect edges accurately under a range of conditions, the visual system needs to adapt to the local contrast level to preserve sensitivity (Blakemore & Campbell, 1969). Cells in the primary visual cortex of cats adapt to stimuli with low to moderate contrast. Curiously, macaque monkey neurons in primary visual cortex (V1) do not show evidence for similar adaptation. To address the question of whether this differential sensitivity in contrast adaptation might be due to phylogenetic variation between cats and primates or to specializations for visual niche (e.g. nocturnal vs. diurnal), contrast adaptation to temporally and spatially optimized gratings was examined in 30 V1 cells of three nocturnal primate bush babies (Galago crassicaudatus). A second objective was to examine the relationship between the degree of contrast adaptation and cell classification or cell location relative to cortical layers or compartments [i.e. cytochrome-oxidase (CO) blobs and interblobs]. All cells were classified (simple vs. complex) and anatomically localized relative to cortical layers and cytochrome-oxidase (CO) blob and interblob compartments. Two independent measures of contrast adaptation were used. In the first test, contrast was sequentially increased from 3–56% and then decreased. The contrast required to maintain a half-maximum response amplitude in the 30 cells tested increased an average of 0.24 (±0.12) log units during the sequential decrements in contrast. For the second test, four sets of five interleaved contrasts within ±1 octave of a central adapting contrast (10%, 14%, 20%, and 28%, respectively) were presented. The cells produced a mean adaptation index of 0.57 (±0.47) which is very similar to that exhibited by cat cortical neurons (0.54 ± 0.41). Interestingly, cells in interblobs showed a trend toward greater adaptation than did blob cells. Moreover, cells in the supragranular layers exhibited greater adaptation than cells in the infragranular layers. No significant differences in adaptation were found to correlate with other cell classification indices. Taken together, our results suggest that contrast adaptation may be more important for maintaining sensitivity in nocturnal species (primates or cats) than in diurnal species (macaque monkeys), and that in the nocturnal bush baby, cells in cortical layers and compartments may be differentially specialized for contrast adaptation.