The JAK/STAT signaling pathway plays important roles in vertebrate development and the regulation of complex cellular processes. Components of the pathway are conserved in Dictyostelium, Caenorhabditis, and Drosophila, yet the complete sequencing and annotation of the D. melanogaster and C. elegans genomes has failed to identify a receptor, raising the possibility that an alternative type of receptor exists for the invertebrate JAK/STAT pathway. Here we show that domeless (dome) codes for a transmembrane protein required for all JAK/STAT functions in the Drosophila embryo. This includes its known requirement for embryonic segmentation and a newly discovered function in trachea specification. The DOME protein has a similar extracellular structure to the vertebrate cytokine class I receptors, although its sequence has greatly diverged. Like many interleukin receptors, DOME has a cytokine binding homology module (CBM) and three extracellular fibronectin-type-III domains (FnIII). Despite its low degree of overall similarity, key amino acids required for signaling in the vertebrate cytokine class I receptors  are conserved in the CBM region. DOME is a signal-transducing receptor with most similarities to the IL-6 receptor family, but it also has characteristics found in the IL-3 receptor family. This suggests that the vertebrate families evolved from a single ancestral receptor that also gave rise to dome.