Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFR) are highly conserved receptor tyrosine kinases, and evolved early in metazoan evolution. In order to investigate their functional conservation, we asked whether the Kringelchen FGFR in the freshwater polyp Hydra vulgaris, is able to functionally replace FGFR in fly embryos. In Drosophila, two endogenous FGFR, Breathless (Btl) and Heartless (Htl), ensure formation of the tracheal system and mesodermal cell migration as well as formation of the heart. Using UAS-kringelchen-5xmyc transgenic flies and targeted expression, we show that Kringelchen is integrated correctly into the cell membrane of mesodermal and tracheal cells in Drosophila. Nevertheless, Kringelchen expression driven in tracheal cells failed to rescue the btl (LG19) mutant. The Hydra FGFR was able to substitute for Heartless in the htl (AB42) null mutant; however, this occurred only during early mesodermal cell migration. Our data provide evidence for functional conservation of this early-diverged FGFR across these distantly related phyla, but also selectivity for the Htl FGFR in the Drosophila system.