A case of conjoined cephalopagus twinning in an ostrich (Struthio camelus)

Anat Histol Embryol. 2007 Aug;36(4):263-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0264.2006.00748.x.


Conjoined twinnings have been reported in most domestic animal species and in some avian species. Cases of conjoined twins have not been reported in the ostrich so far. A hybrid Blue neck x African black male ostrich conjoined twinning was born at the end of artificial egg incubation and died spontaneously 24 h after the hatching. It was frozen and sent to the Unit of Veterinary Pathology of the University of Messina for gross examination. The most important gross findings involved the external body and most of the internal organs. On the basis of the duplication, the conjoined twins were classified as a cephalopagus. Radiological features included: development of one head containing a single brain, two spinal cords, deviated vertebral columnae with fusion of the two first cervical vertebrae. In one twin, the synsacrum was absent as well as portions of the vertebral column. Grossly, both twins showed two upper and lower limbs each. The gastro-enteric apparatuses of the twins were not completely developed and fused at different levels. One liver and one heart localized in the centre of the conjoined twins were observed. The authors conclude that the possible causes of the malformation could be related to a genetic factor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / embryology
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Male
  • Struthioniformes* / embryology
  • Twins, Conjoined / pathology*