The DNI, DNM and DNC descending interneurons all have very similar properties and are each at the convergence of visual, ocellar, wind-hair and other mechanoreceptor inputs. The 3 neurons respond almost exclusively to movement of the animal in space about its three axes of rotation. All are spatially and directionally selective. Movements in the preferred sense produce increasingly strong responses with amplitude and absolute position, while movements in the antipreferred sense usually elicit no response at all. Movements in the preferred sense, but towards, rather than away from, the normal flying position start to produce responses only as the animal approaches the normal flight position. The neurons function as feature detectors, responding only to specific sorts of deviation from course. DNI, DNM and DNC differ from one another principally in their directionality. DNI responds optimally to a diving banked turn to the ipsilateral side, DNM to downwards pitch, and the DNC to a diving banked turn to the contralateral side. The DN neurons contribute to the production of steering manoeuvres. They appear to be representatives of a larger class of descending interneurons bringing exteroceptive sensory input to the thoracic locomotory neuropil. The occurrence of this class of units in locusts and other insects is discussed.