Primary cell lines were established from cultures of tail and toe clips of five species of Australian dragon lizards: Tympanocryptis pinguicolla, Tympanocryptis sp., Ctenophorus fordi, Amphibolurus norrisi and Pogona vitticeps. The start of exponential cell growth ranged from 1 to 5 weeks. Cultures from all specimens had fibroblastic morphology. Cell lines were propagated continuously up to ten passages, cryopreserved and recovered successfully. We found no reduction in cell viability after short term (<6 months) storage at -80 degrees C. Mitotic metaphase chromosomes were harvested from these cell lines and used in differential staining, banding and fluorescent in situ hybridisation. Cell lines maintained normal diploidy in all species. This study reports a simple non-invasive method for establishing primary cell lines from Australian dragon lizards without sacrifice. The method is likely to be applicable to a range of species. Such cell lines provide a virtually unlimited source of material for cytogenetic, evolutionary and genomic studies.