We have used positron emission tomography to map the mnemonic components of two tasks at the extremes of the visual short-term/ working memory spectrum. The successive discrimination task requires only storage of a single item for very short time (ultra-short- term memory), while the 2back task requires both maintenance (i.e. storage and rehearsal) and manipulation of several items (working memory). We tested whether or not the storage component, common to the two tasks, engaged the same cerebral regions. To remove unnecessary confounds, we reduced the cues available to the subjects to a single elementary attribute, the orientation of a grating presented in central vision. This prevented subjects from using verbal strategies or vestibular cues and allowed equating of difficulty among tasks. Ultra-short-term memory for orientation engaged a large expanse of occipito-temporal cortex with a rate-dependent antero-posterior gradient: a fast trial rate engaged posterior regions, a slow trial rate anterior regions. On the other hand, working memory for orientation involved the left inferior parietal cortex, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and a left superior frontal sulcus region, and to a lesser degree the symmetrical right superior frontal region and a left superior parietal region. Direct comparison of the two orientation memory networks confirmed their functional segregation. We conclude that at least the storage of orientation information engages distinct regions depending on whether or not short-term memory/working memory involves rehearsal and/or manipulative processes.