Sulphonated phthalocyanine (Pht.) has been tested for its possible noxious effect on the developing chick embryo. When injected into the subembryonic cavity of 40-45 hours incubated chick embryos (mainly 10-20 somite pairs), Pht. induces a highly reproducible caudal malformative syndrome (trunk and taillessness, various anomalies of the limbs). The main effect is--in about 15% of the malformed specimens--associated with unilateral microphthalmy and, less frequently, with coelosomy. Microscopically developmental disturbances of the caudal axial organs, of the mesonephros and of the limbs are observed. The initial pathological changes, at microscopic level, are necrosis and hemorrhages in the caudal axial and paraxial area. The allantois is poorly developed or even absent. Skeletal changes involve anomalies of the ribs and of the vertebral column and total or partial absence of the pelvic girdle bones. The high mortality, mainly during the first week, is due--first of all--to the developmental disturbances including the poor development or absence of the allantois. Control experiments with CuCl2 suggest the ethiological role of Cu. Pathogenetic aspects are discussed.