In the primordial thoracic ganglia of locust embryos, the bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) technique for labelling proliferating cells and their progeny was combined with intracellular dye injection to investigate the origin and the clonal relationship of common inhibitory motoneurons. Common inhibitors 1 (CI1) and 3 (CI3) were found to be siblings, that is, they are produced by the division of one ganglion mother cell. This ganglion mother cell results from the first division of neuroblast 5-5, at about 30% of embryonic development. A large portion, at least, of the ganglion mother cells produced by subsequent divisions of neuroblast 5-5 give rise to interneurons with contralaterally ascending or descending axons and GABA-like immunoreactivity. Thus, CI1 and CI3 are more closely related to putative inhibitory interneurons than they are to other, that is, excitatory, motoneurons. Consistent with this, the CI somata are associated with cell bodies of putative inhibitory interneurons rather than with clusters of excitatory motoneuron somata. These results elicit speculations regarding the evolutionary origin of inhibitory motoneurons.