Mechanotransduction plays a crucial role in physiology. Biological processes including sensing touch and sound waves require yet unidentified cation channels that detect pressure. Mouse piezo1 (mpiezo1) and mpiezo2 induce mechanically activated cationic currents in cells; however, it is unknown if piezos are pore-forming ion channels or modulate ion channels. We show that Drosophila piezo (dpiezo) also induces mechanically activated currents in cells, but through channels with remarkably distinct pore properties including sensitivity to the pore blocker ruthenium red and single channel conductances. mpiezo1 assembles as a ~1.2 million-Dalton tetramer, with no evidence of other proteins in this complex. Finally, purified mpiezo1 reconstituted into asymmetric lipid bilayers and liposomes forms ruthenium red-sensitive ion channels. These data demonstrate that piezos are an evolutionarily conserved ion channel family involved in mechanotransduction.