Hair follicle characteristics and fibre production in South American camelids

M. Antonini

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Hair follicle and fibre characteristics of Peruvian alpaca and llama and Bolivian llama were analysed in three experimental studies. The first experiment was designed to determine the age at which all the secondary follicles reach maturity, as well as to compare the skin follicular structure and activity among these different types of Peruvian camelids. It is concluded that the South American camelids investigated in this study gained a complete and mature skin follicle apparatus at an early age, and hence producers should practise an early first shearing. A second Peruvian experiment investigated comparative fibre cuticular structure on twenty Peruvian domestic camelids comprising huacaya, suri and llama (woolly) chacos genotypes. The results showed that the number of cuticular scales per 100 m fibre length proved to be strongly affected by both the fleece type and the fibre diameter. The suri fleece was clearly differentiated from those of both huacaya and llama by possessing the highest percentage of fibres with a number of scales less than eight, the lowest percentage of fibres with more than nine scales, along with the lowest percentage of fibres with a diameter of more than 35 m. It is concluded that, with the exception of the scale height, the cuticular parameters investigated in this study can be utilised in textile fibre analyses for distinguishing among these three types of fleece, as well as in selection projects designed to produce homogeneous fibres from Peruvian domestic camelids. A further study was conducted to determine the age at which the hair follicles in Bolivian llamas reach maturity as well as for comparing the skin follicular structure and activity between the two distinct genotypes. Thirty-one llama kids were chosen. They were born between January and April 1998 and were of different sex and of Qaras (or Carguera) or Tamphullis type. Skin biopsies were taken from the right mid-costal region at 2, 4, 6, 8,10,12 and 14 months of age in order to monitor four follicular parameters. In this experiment, secondary to primary (S/P) data show that the Bolivian llama population analysed possessed a complete and mature skin follicle apparatus at birth that remained essentially constant throughout the investigation period. Due to the variation of these traits inside the same genetic population, the present results showed that T and Q types could only be subjective on the basis of S/P ratio. Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1460 - 1471
Number of pages12
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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