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Encyclopedia > Alpaca
Alpaca
An unshorn Alpaca grazing
An unshorn Alpaca grazing
Conservation status
Domesticated
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Camelidae
Genus: Vicugna
Species: V. pacos
Binomial name
Vicugna pacos
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Alpaca range
Alpaca range

The Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in superficial appearance. Orders & Clades Order Perissodactyla Eparctocyona Order Arctostylonia (extinct) Order Mesonychia (extinct) Cetartiodactyla Order Cetacea Order Artiodactyla Bulbulodentata (extinct) Family Hyopsodontidae Meridiungulata (extinct) Order Litopterna Notoungulata (extinct) Order Toxodontia Order Typotheria Ungulates (meaning roughly being hoofed or hoofed animal) are several groups of mammals most of which use the tips of... Alpaca can refer to either: Alpaca, the animal. ... The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species remaining extant either in the present day or the near future. ... Scientific classification redirects here. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes See below Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... Subclasses & Infraclasses Subclass †Allotheria* Subclass Prototheria Subclass Theria Infraclass †Trituberculata Infraclass Metatheria Infraclass Eutheria For the folk-rock band see The Mammals. ... Families Suidae Hippopotamidae Tayassuidae Camelidae Tragulidae Moschidae Cervidae Giraffidae Antilocapridae Bovidae The even-toed ungulates form the mammal order Artiodactyla. ... Map of the world showing distribution of camelids. ... Binomial name Vicugna vicugna (Molina, 1782) The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) is a relative of the llama and a member of the camelid family which lives in the high Andes. ... Latin name redirects here. ... Carl Linnaeus, Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 13, 1707[1] – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[2] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Dogs and sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... Map of the world showing distribution of camelids. ... For other uses, see Llama (disambiguation). ...


Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of Ecuador, southern Peru, northern Bolivia, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3500 to 5000 meters above sea-level, throughout the year.[citation needed] Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike them are not used as beasts of burden but are valued only for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, much as sheep's wool is. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 16 as classified in the United States. Alpaca Color. Retrieved on 2008-04-23. Alpacas and llamas differ in that alpacas have straight ears and llamas have banana-shaped ears. Aside from these differences, llamas are on average 1-2 feet taller and proportionally bigger than alpacas. This article is about the mountain system in South America. ... Binomial name Lama glama (Linnaeus, 1758) The Llama (Lama glama) is a large camelid native to South America. ... A working animal is an animal that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. ... Typical Andes poncho in a flea market in Genoa, Italy A poncho is a simple garment designed to keep the body warm, or if made from an impermeable material, to keep dry during rain. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 113th day of the year (114th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


In the textile industry, "alpaca" primarily refers to the hair of Peruvian alpacas, but more broadly it refers to a style of fabric originally made from alpaca hair but now often made from similar fibers, such as mohair, Icelandic sheep wool, or even high-quality English wool.[citation needed] In trade, distinctions are made between alpacas and the several styles of mohair and luster. For other uses, see Textile (disambiguation). ... Not to be confused with Mohair (band). ... Icelandic lamb and ewe Icelandic sheep A polled Icelandic ewe The Icelandic sheep or Kind on icelandic, is a breed of domestic sheep. ...

Contents

Background

Moche Alpaca Larco Museum Lima, Peru
Moche Alpaca Larco Museum Lima, Peru

Alpacas have been domesticated for thousands of years. In fact, the Moche people of Northern Peru often used Alpaca images in their art.[1] There are no wild alpacas. The closest living species are the wild Vicuña, also native to South America. Along with Camels and Llamas, the Alpaca are classified as Camelids. Larger than the wild Vicuña, the Alpaca is smaller than the other Camelid species. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Larco Museum (Spanish: ) is located in the Pueblo Libre District in Lima, Peru. ... The Moche civilization (alternately, the Mochica culture, Early Chimu, Pre-Chimu, Proto-Chimu, etc. ... Binomial name (Molina, 1782) The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) is one of 2 wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpineous areas of the Andes. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... For other uses, see Camel (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Llama (disambiguation). ... Map of the world showing distribution of camelids. ...


Of the various Camelid species, the Alpaca and Vicuña are the most valuable fiber-bearing animals: the alpaca because of the quality and quantity of its fiber, and the vicuña because of the softness, fineness and quality of its coat. Alpacas are too small to be used as pack animals. Instead, they were bred exclusively for their fiber and meat.


Alpaca meat was once considered a delicacy by Andean inhabitants. A recent resurgence in Alpaca meat was curtailed by a recent change to Peruvian law granting the Alpaca protected status. Today, it is illegal to slaughter or trade in Alpaca meat. Because of the high price commanded by Alpaca on the growing North American Alpaca market, illegal Alpaca smuggling has become a growing problem.[2]


Alpacas and llamas can (and do) successfully cross-breed. The resulting offspring are called huarizo, which are valued for their unique fleece and often have gentle temperaments and are suitable for pets. A huarizo is a cross between a male llama and a female alpaca. ... This article is about animals kept for companionship. ...


Behavior

Closeup of an Alpaca's face
Closeup of an Alpaca's face

Alpacas are social herd animals that live in family groups consisting of a territorial alpha male, females and their young. They are gentle, elegant, inquisitive, intelligent and observant. As they are a prey animal, they are cautious and nervous if they feel threatened. They like having their own space and may not like an unfamiliar alpaca or human getting close, especially from behind. They warn the herd about intruders by making sharp, noisy inhalations that sound like a high pitch burro bray. The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet, and can spit and kick. Due to the soft pads on their feet, the impact of a kick is not as dangerous as that of a hoofed animal, yet it still can give quite a bruise, and the pointed nails can inflict cuts. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... An alpha male or alpha female is the individual in the community to whom the others follow and defer. ...


Spitting

Not all alpacas spit, but all are capable. "Spit" is somewhat euphemistic. While occasionally the projectile contains only air and a little saliva, they also commonly bring up acidic stomach contents (generally a green grassy mix) and project it onto their chosen target. Spitting is mostly reserved for other alpacas, but an alpaca will occasionally spit at humans that, for example, take away food. A euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener; or in the case of doublespeak, to make it less troublesome for the speaker. ...


For alpacas, spitting results in what is called "sour mouth." Sour mouth is characterized by a loose-hanging lower lip and a gaping mouth. This is caused by the stomach acids and unpleasant taste of the contents as they pass out of the mouth.


Some alpacas will spit when looked at, others will never spit — their personalities are very individualized and there is no hard and fast rule in terms of social behavior, although there is often a group leader, and a group trailer/runt that is picked on by others.


Physical contact

Once they know their owners and feel confident around them, they may allow their backs and necks to be touched. They do not like being grabbed. Once socialized well, some alpacas tolerate being stroked or petted anywhere on their bodies, although many do not like their feet, lower legs, and especially their abdomen touched or handled. If an owner needs to catch an alpaca, the neck offers a good handle — holding the neck firmly between the arms is the best way to restrain the animal. Holding the neck from the rear with the animal's head under one's arm is also very effective.

A Bolivian man and his alpaca
A Bolivian man and his alpaca

Hygiene

To help alpacas control their internal parasites they have a communal dung pile, where they do not graze. Generally, males have much tidier, and fewer dung piles than females who tend to stand in a line and all go at once. One female approaches the dung pile and begins to urinate and/or defecate, and the rest of the herd often follows.


Because of their preference to using a dung pile, some alpacas have been successfully house-trained.[citation needed]


Sounds

Individuals vary, but Alpacas generally make a humming sound. Hums are often comfort noises, letting the other alpacas know they are present and content. However, humming can take on many inflections and meanings, from a high-pitched, almost desperate, squealing, "MMMM!" or frantic question, "mmMMM!" when a mother is separated from her offspring (called a "cria,") to a questioning "Mmm?" when they are curious.


Alpacas also make other sounds as well as humming. In danger, they make a high-pitched, shrieking whine. Some breeds are known to make a "wark" noise when excited, and they stand proud with their tails sticking out and their ears in a very alert position. Strange dogs — and even cats — can trigger this reaction. To signal friendly and/or submissive behavior, alpacas "cluck," or "click" a sound possibly generated by suction on the soft palate, or possibly somehow in the nasal cavity. This is often accompanied by a flipping up of the tail over the back.


When males fight they also scream, a warbling bird-like cry, presumably intended to terrify the opponent. Fighting is to determine dominance, and therefore the right to mate the females in the herd, and it is triggered by testosterone. This is why males are often kept in separate paddocks — when two dominant males get together violent fights often occur. When males must be pastured together, it is wise to trim down the large fang-like teeth used in fights, called "fighting teeth". Although alpacas may try to bite each other they only have a bottom row of teeth, so damage is usually minimal. When fighting they will often tangle others necks and attempt to push each other around, but they settle down after a week and agree to a winner and dominant male.


When alpacas breed, males make a similar noise called an "orgle". This is thought to possibly stimulate ovulation in the female. This can sound like a warbling or gargling noise in the back or the throat, possibly generated by movement of the tongue.[citation needed]


Reproduction

A male in the act of mating, or hoping for a chance to mate, "orgles"(sings). This orgling helps to put the female in the mood, and it is believed to also help her to ovulate after mating.


Females are "induced ovulators," which means that the act of mating and the presence of semen causes them to ovulate. Occasionally, females conceive after just one breeding (which can last anywhere from 5 minutes to well over an hour; the males are "dribble ejaculators,") but occasionally do have troubles conceiving. Artificial insemination is technically difficult due to the fact that the act of breeding stimulates ovulation - but it can be accomplished. Babies conceived from artificial insemination are not registerable with the Alpaca Registry.


A male is usually ready to mate for the first time between one and three years of age. A female alpaca may fully mature (physically and mentally) between 12-24 months. It is not advisable to allow a young female to be bred until she is mature, as over breeding a young female before conception is possible is a common cause of uterine infections. As the age of maturation varies greatly between individuals, it is usually recommended that novice breeders wait until females are 18 months of age or older before initiating breeding.


The young male's penis is attached to the prepuce, and generally does not detach until one to two years of age. The penis is a very long, thin, prehensile organ that is perfectly adapted for the task of finding the vaginal opening despite a fluffy tail, penetrating the hymen (if present,) navigating the vaginal canal and entering the cervical opening, where deposit of the semen occurs.


Pregnancies last 11.5 months +/- two weeks and usually result in a single cria. Twins are rare approximately 1/1000. After a female gives birth, she is generally receptive to breeding again after approximately two weeks. Crias may be weaned through human intervention at approximately 6 months and 60 pounds. However, many breeders prefer to allow the female to decide when to wean her offspring. Offspring can be weaned earlier or later depending on their size and emotional maturity.


It is believed that alpacas generally live for up to 20 years and occasionally longer. Conditions and nutrition are better in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Europe than in South America, so animals live longer and are healthier. One of the oldest alpacas in New Zealand (fondly called Vomiting Violet) died at the end of 2005 at the old age of 29.[citation needed]


History of the scientific name

Shorn Alpacas
Shorn Alpacas

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the four South American camelid species were assigned scientific names. At that time, the alpaca was assumed to be descended from the llama, ignoring similarities in size, fleece and dentition between the alpaca and the vicuña. Classification was complicated by the fact that all four species of South American camelid can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. It was not until the advent of DNA technology that a more accurate classification was possible. Binomial name Lama glama (Linnaeus, 1758) The Llama (Lama glama) is a large camelid native to South America. ... Binomial name Vicugna vicugna (Molina, 1782) The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) is a relative of the llama that lives in the high Andes. ... The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a nucleic acid molecule that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. ...


In 2001, the alpaca genus classification changed from Lama pacos to Vicugna pacos following the presentation of a paper[3] on work by Dr Jane Wheeler et al on alpaca DNA to the Royal Society showing that the alpaca is descended from the vicuña, not the guanaco. For other uses, see Royal Society (disambiguation). ...


The relationship between alpacas and vicuñas was disputed for many years, but Wheeler's DNA work proved it. However, many academic sites have not caught up with this, so it is something well known to alpaca breeders who have read Hoffman's book, and to Royal Society members who have access to the current classification data, but not more widely known.


Poisonous to Alpacas

Many plants are poisonous to the Alpaca, including the bracken fern and fireweed, oleander and some azaleas.[citation needed]

Suri alpaca
Suri alpaca

Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ...

Fiber

Main article: Alpaca fiber

Alpaca fleece is a light-weight, lustrous and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool in that it is a natural fiber, it is warmer, not prickly, and bears no lanolin which makes it hypoallergenic[4][5] . It is also soft and luxurious. In physical structure, alpaca fiber is somewhat akin to hair, being very glossy, but its softness and fineness enable the spinner to produce satisfactory yarn with comparative ease. It is hollow as well, which makes it a good insulator. The preparing, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing process of alpaca is very similar to the process used for wool. Fiber or fibre[1] is a class o f materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread. ... Species See text. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Fiber. ... Lanolin, also called Adeps Lanae, wool wax, wool fat, or wool grease, a greasy yellow substance from wool-bearing animals, acts as a skin ointment, water-proofing wax, and raw material (such as in shoe polish). ... Look up hypoallergenic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A hand-turned spinning wheel in action Cones of yarn for industrial use Z-twist and S-twist yarns Spinning is the process of creating yarn (or thread, rope, cable) from various raw fiber materials. ... Yarn Spools of thread Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking. ... -1... A hand-turned spinning wheel in action Cones of yarn for industrial use Z-twist and S-twist yarns Spinning is the process of creating yarn (or thread, rope, cable) from various raw fiber materials. ... Tweed loom, Harris, 2004 Woven sheet Weaving is an ancient textile art and craft that involves placing two sets of threads or yarn called the warp and weft of the loom and turning them into cloth. ... Textile manufacturing is one of the oldest of mans technologies. ...


Prices

The price for American alpacas can range from USD$100 for a desexed male or gelding to USD$500,000 for the highest of champions in the world. depending on breeding history, sex, and color.[6] It is possible to raise up to 10 alpacas per acre (25 alpacas per hectar)[citation needed] as they have a designated area for waste products and keep their eating area away from their waste area, which helps to avoid diseases. But this ratio differs from country to country and is highly dependent on the quality of pasture available (in Australia it is generally only possible to run one to three animals per acre due to drought). Fiber quality is the primary variant in the price achieved for alpaca wool, in Australia it is common to classify the fiber by the thickness of the individual hairs and by the amount of vegetable matter contained in the supplied shearings. This article is about the unit of measurement. ... A hectare (symbol ha, pronounced ) is a unit of area equal to 10,000 square metres, or one square hectometre, and commonly used for measuring land area. ...


US speculative bubble

A research paper[7] on this topic published by the Agricultural Issues Center of the University of California in 2005 examined the US alpaca industry and concluded that current prices for alpaca stock are not supportable by market fundamentals and that the industry represents the latest in the rich history of speculative bubbles. Berkeley Davis Irvine Los Angeles Merced Riverside San Diego Santa Barbara Santa Cruz UC Office of the President in Oakland The University of California (UC) is a public university system in the state of California. ... bubbles are things that you make out of soap. ...


See also

  • Alpaca fiber

Notes

  1. ^ Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
  2. ^ Microchips to guard Peruvian Alpacas (HTML). BBC News (2005-03-30).
  3. ^ Wheeler, Dr Jane; Miranda Kadwell, Matilde Fernandez, Helen F. Stanley, Ricardo Baldi, Raul Rosadio, Michael W. Bruford (12 2001). "Genetic analysis reveals the wild ancestors of the llama and the alpaca". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 268 (1485): 2575 - 2584. doi:10.1098/rspb.2001.1774. 0962-8452 (Paper) 1471-2954 (Online). 
  4. ^ Quiggle, Charlotte. "Alpaca: An Ancient Luxury." Interweave Knits Fall 2000: 74-76.
  5. ^ Stoller, Debbie, Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet, New York: Workman, 2006, p. 18.
  6. ^ Snowmass Alpaca Sale 2006 (PDF). Celebrity Alpaca Sale & Show Results (2006-02-25). Retrieved on 2007-02-06.
  7. ^ Saitone, Tina L; Sexton, Richard J (2005-09-26). Alpaca Lies? Do Alpacas Represent the Latest Speculative Bubble in Agriculture? (PDF) 36. University of California. Retrieved on 2007-11-17.

The Larco Museum (Spanish: ) is located in the Pueblo Libre District in Lima, Peru. ... Thames & Hudson (also Thames and Hudson and sometimes T&H for brevity) are a publisher, especially of art and illustrated books, founded in 1949 by Walter and Eva Neurath. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 89th day of the year (90th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 56th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ...

References

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

External links

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Alpaca - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3237 words)
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3500 to 5000 meters above sea-level, throughout the year.
Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas and unlike them are not used as beasts of burden but are valued only for their fiber (wool), used for making blankets and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, blankets, socks and coats in other parts of the world.
At that time, the alpaca was assumed to be descended from the llama, ignoring similarities in size, fleece and dentition between the alpaca and the vicuña.
Alpaca,Mammals,Alpaca Picture,Mammal Pictures,Catalog,Encyclopedia (83 words)
The alpaca is a domesticated LLAMA, L. pacos, bred in South America principally for its wool.
Because its fleece is longer and more silky than that of other llama species, it was prized by the Incas, who wove its hair into robes reserved for royalty.
The alpaca requires about two years, spent high in the Andes, to produce a full growth of wool.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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