Anatomy of the 24, 48, 72 and 120 hours Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Embryo

This collection of sections through zebrafish embryos at four different stages of development is thought to provide some help to understand how the zebrafish embryo looks inside.

Thin section in Araldite were stained with methylene blue. Images were taken and digitized.

You will find an overview image for each stage, with links (click at numbers on image) to images of the sections. You can also download high resolution images (JPEG, about 1 MB), which in most cases are good enough to zoom in down to the level of individual cell nuclei.

None of us is a classical fish biologist or did study anatomy. While we tried hard, inevitably there will be mistakes and omissions. Please contact Wolfgang Driever ( with suggestions for improvements.

The identification of the parts of the embryo was done by:
Salim Abdelilah, Wolfgang Driever, Alan Gorn, Jarema Malicki, Stephan Neuhauss, Michael Pack, Zehava Rangini, Alexander Schier, Lilianna Solnica-Krezel, Didier Stanier, Derek Stemple.

Thanks to Chuck Kimmel for providing the pictures of live embryos we use for navigating the anatomy sections. (Kimmel, C. B., Ballard, W. W., Kimmel, S. R., Ullmann, B. and Schilling, T. F. (1995). Stages of embryonic development of the zebrafish. Dev. Dyn. 203, 253-310.)

Chuck Kimmel, Steve Wilson and Bill Ballard helped correct our wildest mistakes.

The sections, prints and artwork were done by:
Lisa Vogelsang, Thomas Binder, Lisa Anderson and Jane Belak.

WWW page designed by Jonathan Delgado

Sole responsibility for all the mistakes: Wolfgang Driever

Select development stage: