Lamini is a tribe within the Camelinae subfamily. It has two extant genera and four species, all of which are native to South America:
- Vicuñas, and
The first two species are domesticated, whilst the last two are exclusively found in the wild. Many people confuse them with one another, even though they have some distinct features. Here are the difference between all of the 4 species in South America:
The llama is a South American native that was domesticated as a pack animal by the locals 5000 years ago. The most noticeable distinction between a llama and 3 other species is their size. Llamas can reach heights of 4 feet (1.25 meters) at the shoulder and 6 feet (1.83 meters) at the crown of the head. A mature llama can weigh between 300 and 450 pounds (135 to 205 kilograms).
Llamas are domesticated, and have type of wool which has been used since the Incas. The Incas employed them as a mode of transportation since they required minimal water and were resistant to mountain climbing. Llamas are still the sole means to get about in some sections of the Andes.
Unlike the guanaco and vicuña, the llama’s coat comes in a variety of colors including white, brown, grey, and black, either solid or spotted. It also has a longer face and neck, as well as characteristic curved ears, which distinguishes it from its relatives.
The alpaca, like the llama, is a smaller domesticated South American lamini. Alpacas are descended from wild vicuñas, which gave them their wonderful fiber and small size. Because of its amiable disposition, it can be raised as a pack animal high in the Peruvian Andes mountains, Ecuador, and Northern Chile, but it may also be trained as a pet.
Another significant distinction between a llama and an alpaca is the alpaca’s extremely puffy fleece. The alpaca is mostly bred for its high-quality wool, which comes in 22 different colors. Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic, warmer, and softer than lamb’s wool, and it lasts longer than cashmere. Another distinguishing feature of the two species is their ears, with alpacas having smaller, pear-shaped ears.
They also have shorter snouts and more rounded features. Alpacas are divided into two breeds Huacaya alpacas, which have dense, fluffy wool, and Suri alpacas, which have long, straight fiber. Both breed are domestic and can be found in any farms in South America!
The vicuña is an unofficial national symbol of Peru (it can be seen on the country’s coat of arms), and while it appears to be a deer-like Alpaca, it is really classed as a wild animal. The vicuña is the tiniest and most delicate between 4 species. They can grow to be between 2.5 and 2.8 feet (0.75 to 0.85 meters) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 77 and 130 pounds (35 to 59 kg).
They have similar ears to the guanaco, and their coats are similar in color, with light brown on the back and white fleece on the throat, belly, and legs. Vicuñas are critically endangered, and as such, they are protected in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Northern Chile, and the northwest of Argentina.
Vicuña wool is the softest and highest quality of any camelid’s wool, making it the most expensive in the world. The wool is referred to as the “Fiber of the Gods” or “The Golden Fleece.” Vicuñas are caught and sheared every three years to prevent poachers from killing them. In Peru, a government-backed chacu controls vicuña herding and shearing.
The guanaco can grow to be about 4 feet tall, making it smaller than the llama but larger than the alpaca. Guanacos look a lot like llamas, but there are some differences between these species. Guanacos are all brownish with white underparts and grey faces, ears, and necks. Llamas occur in a variety of colors, but all guanacos are brownish with white underparts and grey faces, ears, and necks. They have narrow, straight ears as well.
Their wool is of higher quality than that of llamas, but it does not compare to that of alpacas or vicuñas. The protected species may thrive in exceedingly arid settings at exceptionally high altitudes, such as the Atacama Desert.
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