Transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels have been identified as cellular sensors responding to diverse external and internal stimuli. This review will cover the TRPV subfamily that comprises vertebrate and invertebrate members. The six mammalian TRPV channels were demonstrated to function in thermosensation, mechanosensation, osmosensation and Ca(2+) uptake. Invertebrate TRPV channels, five in Caenorhabditis elegans and two in Drosophila, have been shown to play a role in mechanosensation, such as hearing and proprioception in Drosophila and nose touch in C. elegans, and in the response to osmotic and chemical stimuli in C. elegans. We will focus here on the role that TRPV ion channels play in mechanosensation and a related sensory (sub-)modality, osmosensation.