There is a growing recognition, stemming from work with both vertebrates and invertebrates, that the capacity for neuronal regeneration is critically dependent on the local microenvironment. That environment is largely created by the non-neuronal elements of the nervous system, the neuroglia. Therefore an understanding of how glial cells respond to injury is crucial to understanding neuronal regeneration. Here we examine the process of repair in a relatively simple nervous system, that of the insect, in which it is possible to define precisely the cellular events of the repair process. This repair is rapid and well organised; it involves the recruitment of blood cells, the division of endogenous glial elements and, possibly, migration from pre-existing glial pools in adjacent ganglia. There are clear parallels between the events of repair and those of normal glial development. It seems likely that the ability of the insect central nervous system to repair resides in the retention of developmental capacities throughout its life and that damage results in the activation of this potential.