Precise wiring of the nervous system depends not only on a matching between neurons and their synaptic targets, but also upon competition between neurons for particular targets. Neurons in adult leeches regenerate synaptic connections with their usual neuronal targets in the central nervous system, selecting only those targets with which they connect during embryogenesis. Thus during development axons of nociceptive (N) sensory cells make contacts on the cell bodies of certain neurons in adjacent ganglia but not upon those same types of cells in their own ganglion. After injury the N cell axons accurately regenerate contacts on the appropriate target cells. An abnormal feature observed after injury is that N cell axons sprout and grow to make contacts upon cell bodies within their own ganglion. This is a consequence of the normal innervation of those cells having been removed, thereby eliminating the source of competition. Similar competition during embryogenesis may guide the formation of selective connections.