alpaca

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alpaca

(ălpăk`ə), partially domesticated South American mammal, Lama pacos, of the camelcamel,
ruminant mammal of the family Camelidae. The family consists of three genera, the true camels of Asia (genus Camelus); the wild guanaco and the domesticated alpaca and llama, all of South America (genus Lama
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 family. Genetic studies show that it is a descendant of the vicuñavicuña
, wild South American hoofed mammal, Vicugna vicugna, the smallest member of the camel family. It is 30 in. (75 cm) high at the shoulder, with a long, slender neck and pale, fawn coloring.
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. Although the flesh is sometimes used for food, the animal is bred chiefly for its long, lustrous wool, which varies from black, through shades of brown, to white. Flocks of alpaca are kept by indigenous people in the highlands of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. They feed on grasses growing close to the snow line, and they require a pure water supply.

The Incas had domesticated the alpaca and utilized its wool before the Spanish Conquest, but subsequently the alpaca and the llama were extensively hybridized, leading to a gradual reduction in the amount of high quality alpaca wool. Exporting of alpaca wool to Europe began after Sir Titus Salt discovered (1836) a way of manufacturing alpaca cloth. Breeding alpacas is a small but growing industry in the United States, Canada, and some other non-Andean nations.

Alpacas are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Camelidae.

alpaca

[al′pak·ə]
(vertebrate zoology)
Lama pacos. An artiodactyl of the camel family (Camelidae); economically important for its long, fine wool.

alpaca

1
1. a domesticated cud-chewing artiodactyl mammal, Lama pacos, closely related to the llama and native to South America: family Camelidae. Its dark shaggy hair is a source of wool
2. the cloth made from the wool of this animal
3. a glossy fabric simulating this, used for linings, etc.

alpaca

2 (sometimes), alpacca
a type of nickel silver used in jewellery
References in periodicals archive ?
The introduction of the alpacas and hens was the idea of house manager Paula Lingwood.
"The whole group really enjoyed themselves, especially having the chance to trek around with the alpacas.
Many of our residents are animal lovers but were quite surprised to meet alpacas for the first time."
Summary: Alpaca fiber is witnesses a greater demand over wool in the textile industry being a natural fiber that provides more warmth minus the scratchy texture like wool.
Antrobus-based Cheshire Alpacas brought along some of their members for the walk, which took longer than expected when the animals kept stopping.
"I was screaming at him, 'get your dog off the alpacas!' He didn't.
Meet their alpacas and learn more about these inquisitive animals.
The Robinsons also plan to take their alpacas to Old Settlers Day in Perkins from 8 a.m.