In grasshopper embryo limb buds, the sibling Ti1 pioneers are the first neurons to initiate axonogenesis. The pioneer growth cones migrate from the limb tip to the CNS along a in direction comprising discrete steering events. Filopodial exploration of the cellular terrain in the vicinity of the advancing growth cone appears to be important for steering. Some information is available on the identity of cells and cell types, on cell-surface characteristics, and on the involvement of basal lamina in these steering decisions. In the work reported here, we have used computer-enhanced fluorescence video microscopy to examine filopodial behavior and the process of growth cone migration and reorientation resulting from interactions with the normal guidance cues on the in situ substrate. We observed several different kinds of migration and steering events, which appear to be related to the absolute and relative affinities of the contacted substrates. On a relatively homogeneous substrate of intrasegmental epithelium, growth cones advance by extending veils between filopodia, as is commonly observed on uniform substrates in vitro. Where growth cones confront an orthogonal border between substrates of dissimilar affinity, they remain on the higher-affinity substrate by extending new branches along it. Subsequently, reorientation in the preferred direction on the higher-affinity substrate is accomplished by regression of branches extended in the nonselected direction. By contrast, a single filopodial contact with a very high-affinity substrate, such as a guidepost neuron, can reorient a growth cone, even when it is migrating on a favorable substrate. In this situation, the filopodium that contacts the high-affinity substrate expands in diameter until it becomes the nascent axon.