The source of environmental cues determining the central connections of muscle sensory neurons was investigated by manipulating chick embryos so that sensory neurons supplied a duplicate set of dorsal thigh muscles. These neurons projected out ventral nerve pathways and along motor axons that normally project to ventral muscles but their ultimate target tissue was the duplicate set of dorsal muscles. The central connections of these sensory neurons to motoneurons supplying normal dorsal muscles were then determined with intracellular recordings in isolated spinal cord preparations. Sensory neurons supplying individual duplicate dorsal muscles made the same connections as those supplying the corresponding normal dorsal muscles; the pattern of these connections was different than that made by afferents supplying ventral muscles. Sensory neurons thus made synaptic connections appropriate for their target muscle rather than for their more proximal ventral environment. These findings suggest that the target muscle is the source of cues that determine the central connections of the sensory neurons projecting to it. Motoneurons forced to innervate novel muscle received many of the same sensory inputs they would normally receive, suggesting that motoneurons are less influenced by their target tissue than sensory neurons.