Lysophospholipids play important roles in the migration of lymphocytes, smooth muscle cells and germ cells in vertebrates and invertebrates. In vertebrates, the migratory responses are mediated by specific G-protein-coupled receptors. These are expressed in both migrating lymphocyte and smooth muscle cells, and in their surrounding cells. In Drosophila germ cell migration, lipid phosphatases also act in both the surrounding and the migrating cells. In all three scenarios, the contributions of these genes in the stationary and migrating cells are being teased apart by genetic studies and direct observation, with exciting results.