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Brief Intro:
Haeckaliens is a collection of 3D datasets and reconstructions of embryos obtained with the open-source optical tomography scanner "OPenT" .
What the heck are "Haeckaliens"? Haeckel was one of my "scientific heroes", and a common comment we get is that some images look like aliens....hence, Haeckaliens!*  
(1874 illustration from Ernst Haeckel's Anthropogenie showing "early", "mid" and "late development" stages of several vertebrate embryos: fish (F), salamander (A), turtle (T), chick (H), pig (S), cow (R), rabbit (K), and human (M). - Source: Wikipedia). Superimposed are images of some of the embryos already imaged with OPenT and available here.

Information about imaging with OPenT and the system are at:

We're looking for volunteers/collaborators, specimens (non-model species please!), help with sample preparation, image acquisition and 3D analysis!
Not all features are available for all's an ongoing project! 
Visitors are welcome to use images as long as they acknowledge the source.

Some instructions for using the interactive datasets in XTK format are hereFor "offline rendering" you can open the TIFF datasets in FIJI/ImageJ, VolViewer, 3D Slicer, Drishti and other software. We're also working with Bitplane to provide versions that can be used with the Imaris or the Imaris SceneViewer (free; can be downloaded here).
NOTE: due to changes in dropbox and youtube we're experiencing problems with the display of the XTK and 3D youtube videos. We're working on alternatives...

If you are looking for other online developmental anatomical databases for model species I recommend the following:
ZFAP - Zebrafish Anatomy Portal:
Quail anartomy Portal:

Amniotes (normal anatomy)

Stage: 14days (TS22
Full gestation = 19 days
CRL [dehydrated] = 5.8mm

Specimens were provided by Rob Bryson-Richardson and the full 3D datasets are now available online through the "Quail Anatomy Portal" recommend starting with the quail staging tool:

Stage: 10 days 
(full gestation ~16 days)
CRL [dehydrated] = 2.3cm  


Stage: 13 days 
(full gestation ~16 days)


Stage: 15 days
(full gestation ~16 days)
CRL [dehydrated] = 4.2cm


- Common pigeon (Columba livia)

Stage: 18 days (full gestation ~18 days)

- Duck (Anas platyrhynchos)

Stage: ~24 days (full gestation ~28 days)

- Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) - specimen kindly provided by Rui Castanhinha

         (stage unknown)

Anamniotes (normal anatomy)

- Common toad (Bufo bufo)

         Stage: hindlimb budsLength [dehydrated] = 2.97cm

        XTK interactive 40umRes 3D dataset 20umRes dataset   Sagittal sections (YouTube)  Segmented anatomy (3D PDF) 

- Tree frog (Hyla arborea) - specimen provided by Rui Rebelo

 Lusitanian toadfish (Halobatrachus didactylus)
 Collaboration with Paulo Fonseca, Pedro Félix, José Lino and Clara Amorim.
Stage: 20 dpf
(hatching ~30 days)
Length [dehydrated] = 7.01 mm

Stage: 30 dpf
(hatching ~30 days)
Length [dehydrated] = 8.39 mm
Stage: 46 dpf
(hatching ~30 days)
Length [dehydrated] = 18.9 mm
Stage: 45 dpf
(hatching ~30 days)
Length [dehydrated] = 20.6 mm


Stage: ~2months PF
(hatching ~30 days)
Length [dehydrated] = 20.73 mm

 * see a naturally occurring mutation of this species below!

Other datasets in prep:

Common frog (Pelophylax perezi)
Minnow (Squalius alburnoides) - collaboration with Angela Inácio, MJ Collares-Pereira & Manuela Coelho
- Sardine (Sardina pilchardus) - specimens provided by Susana Ferreira and Pedro Ré



- Sepia (Sepia sp)


Mutants and dysmorphic embryos

- Dysmorphic Lusitanian toadfish (Halobatrachus didactylus)  -      Specimen provided by Paulo Fonseca.

Stage: undetermined ~3weeks PF; 
Length [dehydrated] = 1.1cm
This fish was still in the corion when collected, even though its siblings had mostly ecloded. Though the head appears to be normal, its body is severely truncated!
This, and many other abnormalities occur in this species.


*  Before I get charred for "trying to revive the recapitulation theory", no...that is not the point of the illustration! This was one of the reasons I got into embryology and I always liked the controversy and intellectual challenge it sparked. Haeckel's "heresy" was the publication of illustrations which were often too "artistic" (there is an interesting review by Richardson et al on this theme here).