Sex chromosomes were studied in eight species of lacertid lizards using C-banding, G-banding and restriction enzyme treatment. All of the species showed female heterogamety. The W chromosome was a microchromosome in Lacerta graeca and Ophisops elegans. Two types of W were found in Lacerta vivipara; in specimens from The Netherlands it was metacentric, whereas in specimens from Russia it was acrocentric or subtelocentric. The W chromosome was homomorphic or nearly homomorphic but completely C-banded and heterochromatic in Lacerta agilis, Podarcis hispanica, Algyroides moreoticus and A. nigropunctatus. In was only possible to find sex chromosomes using the G-banding method in Podarcis sicula. The results obtained, together with data in the literature, suggest that sex chromosomes are likely to be present in all Lacertidae and that their differentiation took place repeatedly and independently in different taxa within the family. A model for sex chromosome evolution in the family, in which the starting point was the heterochromatization of the W chromosome, is proposed.