We studied the effects of Wallerian degeneration in the cerebral peduncle shown by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) following a supratentorial vascular lesion, to identify the somatotopic localisation of the descending cortical tracts. Patients with a lesion involving a large area of a cerebral hemisphere had an area of abnormal signal intensity in the whole cerebral peduncle, suggesting Wallerian degeneration of all the whole descending cortical tracts. With a small lesion confined to the precentral gyrus, corona radiata, or posterior limb of the internal capsule there was an abnormal signal at the centre of the peduncle, suggesting degeneration of the precentrospinal tract. Those with a small lesion confined to the paracentral gyrus had an abnormal area slightly lateral to the centre of the peduncle, suggesting degeneration of the parietospinal tract. Patients with a lesion of the parietal or temporal lobes, not including the paracentral or precentral gyri, corona radiata, or the posterior limb of the internal capsule, had an abnormal area laterally in the peduncle, suggesting degeneration of the parietopontine or temporopontine tract.