Background: Regeneration of the damaged central nervous system is one of the most interesting post-embryonic developmental phenomena. Two distinct cellular events have been implicated in supplying regenerative neurogenesis with cellular material -- generation of new cells through cell proliferation and recruitment of already existing cells through cell migration. The relative contribution and importance of these two mechanisms is often unknown. Methods: Here, we use the regenerating radial nerve cord (RNC) of the echinoderm Holothuria glaberrima as a model of extensive post-traumatic neurogenesis in the deuterostome central nervous system. To uncouple the effects of cell proliferation from those of cell migration, we treated regenerating animals with aphidicolin, a specific inhibitor of S-phase DNA replication. Cell migration was tracked with vital staining with the lipophilic dye DiI. Results: Aphidicolin treatment resulted in a significant 2.1-fold decrease in cell proliferation. In spite of this, the regenerating RNC in the treated animals did not differ in histological architecture, size and cell number from its counterpart in the control vehicle-treated animals. DiI labeling showed extensive cell migration in the RNC. Some cells migrated from as far as 2 mm away from the injury plane to contribute to the neural outgrowth. Conclusions: We suggest that inhibition of cell division in the regenerating RNC of H. glaberrima is compensated for by recruitment of cells, which migrate into the RNC outgrowth from deeper regions of the neuroepithelium. Neural regeneration in echinoderms is thus a highly regulative developmental phenomenon, in which the size of the cell pool can be controlled either by cell proliferation or cell migration, and the latter can neutralize perturbations in the former.