Posted by Anjum Andrabi on June 10th, 2007
Cyclopia is a teratology (meaning birth defect) wherein the development of the face of the animal is so affected that it has only one eye towards the center of its head. The term cyclops has its origin from the Greek and later Roman mythology, where it refers to primordial race of giants having a single eye in the centre of their foreheads.
This calf was delivered at a veterinary hospital in Kashmir by a cesarean section. The animal was still born (meaning dead at birth). Its quite rare to see such a distinct cyclopia in calves.
The causes of such fetal monstrosity is not well understood but many substances have been incriminated in its occurance. Predominantly certain alkaloids including cyclopamine, jervine, and cyclopasine are known to cause cyclopia among other birth defects when consumed during early pregnancy. These alkaloids are found in some plants that the animals encounter during grazing especially of the Veratrum spp. These plants and many other alkaloids also cause abortions at various stages of pregnancy. Ewes have been know to be especially susceptable to Cyclopia from grazing on the Veratum plants.