It has been proposed that supporting cells may be the progenitors of regenerated hair cells that contribute to recovery of hearing in birds, but regeneration is difficult to visualize in the ear, because it occurs deep in the skull. Hair cells and supporting cells that are comparable to those in the ear are present in lateral line neuromasts, and in axolotl salamanders these cells are accessible to microscopic observation in vivo. After amputation of a segment of the tail that contains neuromasts, cells from the posteriormost neuromast on the tail stump divide rapidly and form a migratory regenerative placode. The cells of the regenerative placode represent a lineage that eventually produces both hair cells and supporting cells in replacement neuromasts. We sought to identify the progenitors of the regenerative placode by using differential interference contrast microscopy combined with time-lapse video recording in living axolotl salamanders. In response to amputation, the mantle-type supporting cells at the posteroventral edge of the neuromast that is nearest to the wound increased their frequency of cell division, and gave rise to the first cells of the placode. The increase in mitotic activity of mantle-type supporting cells was accompanied by an unexplained decrease in the frequency of divisions in the same neuromast's population of internal supporting cells. The time-lapse records suggested that the changes in the mitotic activity of supporting cells might have been linked to the presence of phagocytic leukocytes in the vicinity of the neuromast that was nearest to the wound. Leukocytes were evenly distributed around control neuromasts, but during regeneration leukocyte activity increased significantly in the vicinity of the posterior half of the posteriormost neuromast. The redistribution of leukocytes occurred early in the regenerative response, but a causal role for the leukocytes has not been conclusively established. It is possible that the leukocytes could contribute to the formation of the regenerative placode at that location by breaking down the glycocalyx that ensheaths the outermost cells of the neuromast, or through the secretion of mitogenic growth factors.