1. The directly evoked action potential of dissociated, embryonic, chick, dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurones maintained in cell culture is prolonged compared to spinal cord cell spikes and the re-polarization phase is marked by a plateau. 2. Evidence was obtained that both Ca2+ and Na+ carry inward current across the active soma membrane. Ca2+ because: overshooting spikes persist in tetrodotoxin (TTX) or Na+-free media; in the presence of TTX (or absence of Na+) spike size varies directly with extracellular Ca2+ and spikes are eliminated by Co2+. Na+ because: spikes persist in the presence of Co2+ or Ca2+-free media; in the presence of Co2+ (or absence of Ca2+) spike varies directly with extracellular Na+ and spikes are blocked by TTX. 3. On the other hand, Ca2+ plays less if any role in action potentials conducted along sensory nerve cell processes. Conducted spikes could not be evoked in TTX containing or Na+-free media. 4. A long-lasting depolarization follows the action potential in some neurones. This depolarization is associated with an increase in membrane conductance and appears to drive the membrane potential to ca. -30mV. It persists when conducted impulses are blocked so it is probably not a recurrent synaptic potential. 5. It is suggested that combined Ca2+-Na+ spikes observed in isolated sensory neurones in vitro reflect the action potential of adult sensory cells but the possibility that they represent an early stage in development is also discussed.