Dictionary > Alpaca

Alpaca

Definition
noun, plural: alpaca or alpacas
(1) A camelid with long, fine, wooly hair, and closely related to llama, vicugna, and guanaco
(2) The fiber or fleece from alpaca
Supplement
Alpaca is a domesticated camelid of the family Camelidae. As a camelid, it is characterized by having a long and slender neck as well as long legs. They do not have hooves but feet with two toes and soft pads. It is closely related to llama, guanaco, and vicuña. It is smaller though than llama. And unlike llama that is domesticated to be a beast of burden, the alpaca is breed for their fiber or fleece. Their fleece is used for making blankets, gloves, scarves, sweaters, etc.
Formerly, the scientific name of alpaca is Lama pacos. In 2001, it was changed to Vicugna pacos based on the DNA report by Dr. Jane Wheeler and others. It also implicated that the alpacas descended not from the guanacos but from the vicugnas.1 Alpacas are of two breeds: Suri and Huacaya.
Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Camelidae
  • Tribe: Lamini
  • Genus: Vicugna
  • Species: V. pacos (Linnaeus, 1758)

See also:

Reference(s):

1 Wheeler, J., Kadwell, M., Fernandez, M. Stanley, H. F., Baldi, R., Rosadio, R., & Bruford, M. W. (December 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.


You will also like...

Freshwater aquatic plankton
Freshwater Communities & Plankton

Planktons are microscopic organisms that live suspended in aquatic habitats. There are two groups: the phytoplanktons an..

Schematic diagram of DNA replication
DNA Structure & DNA Replication

DNA is a double helix structure comprised of nucleotides. A nucleotide, in turn, is made up of phosphate molecule, deoxy..

Growth Patterns
Growth Patterns

This tutorial describes the sigmoid curve, annual plant growth, tree growth, human growth, and insect growth as the grow..

Cambial cells
Plant Tissues

Plant organs are comprised of tissues working together for a common function. The different types of plant tissues are m..

takahē
Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

Meet the colorful takahē, an extremely rare flightless bird. Find out more about its unique features and why they matte..

Human Nervous System
The Human Nervous System

The nervous system is essentially a biological information highway. This tutorial gives an overview of the nervous syste..