Abstract Axon initiation in cultured neurons from embryonic ciliary ganglia involves a process in which cell surface motile activity gradually becomes restricted to sites of growth cone formation. Once frank growth cones have commenced to move outward, away from the soma, the broad connecting isthmus of cytoplasm connecting the growth cone to the soma rounds up to form the base of the definitive axon. Motile activity usually does not occur along the sides of axons or of somas. When axons are cut using sharp blades, ruffling and microspike activity are seen on both proximal and distal stumps within times as short as 3–10 min. On rare occasions, portions of the somal surface may also display ruffling and motile activity. It is concluded that the capacity to generate new growth cones and cell surface movements characteristic of locomotion is widely distributed through axoplasm and the neuron.