The JAK/STAT pathway was originally identified in mammals. Studies of this pathway in the mouse have revealed that JAK/STAT signaling plays a central role during hematopoeisis and other developmental processes. The role of JAK/STAT signaling in blood appears to be conserved throughout evolution, as it is also required during fly hematopoeisis. Studies in Dictyostelium, Drosophila, and zebrafish have shown that the JAK/STAT pathway is also required in an unusually broad set of developmental decisions, including cell proliferation, cell fate determination, cell migration, planar polarity, convergent extension, and immunity. There is increasing evidence that the versatility of this pathway relies on its cooperation with other signal transduction pathways. In this review, we discuss the components of the JAK/STAT pathway in model organisms and what is known about its requirement in cellular and developmental processes. In particular, we emphasize recent insights into the role that this pathway plays in the control of cell movement.