Animals encounter a wide range of noxious stimuli in the natural world. Nociceptive neurons are specialized cells that sense harmful stimuli and trigger avoidance responses. Class IV cells, located under the cuticle in Drosophila larvae, are polymodal nociceptors that respond to noxious mechanical, thermal, optical, and chemical stimuli. To investigate the spatial requirements of mechanoreception in class IV neurons, we measured calcium signals evoked by a focused laser beam that creates highly localized tissue damage. We discovered that different cellular compartments—axons and dendrites—responded differentially depending on whether the stimulus makes direct contact with the neuron or not. This provides evidence that mechanical nociception in class IV cells occurs via two distinct pathways. Read the whole paper here.