- In the Huancavelica region of Peru alpacas form the main and often only means of deriving an income for 3300 poor families in 60 communities. Ninety percent of alpacas in the region are Huacaya which are grazed at altitudes 4000–4800 m. Little attention has been paid to alpacas grazed in the High Andes. We aimed to: (i) quantify the variation in alpaca mean fibre diameter (MFD), fibre diameter coefficient of variation (CVD), fibre curvature (FC) and staple length (SL) among 24 sampling sites, (ii) quantify the difference between the mid-side sampling site and other fleece components for each fleece attribute, (iii) identify the sampling site with the highest correlation to the fibre attributes of the fleece in general, and (iv) quantify the relationship between FC and MFD for alpaca. Adult female alpacas (n = 31, mean live weight 71 kg) were sampled and had their fleece weighed in 8 components. Total mean fleece weight was 3.35 kg (range 2.13–6.01). Staples were measured for length (mm) and tested on the OFDA2000 to determine MFD, CVD and FC. The effect of the site was determined using ANOVA analysis. Values for FC were log10 transformed. Correlations between sites and regression analysis between MFD and FC were performed. The mean values for the mid-side site were: MFD 26.3 μm; CVD 20.2%; FC 34.9 °/mm; SL 91 mm, which were finer and longer than other fleece components. The variation in MFD between the 24 sampling sites was 20.2–50.6 μm and between 9 sampling sites in the main fleece saddle was 24.8–31.7 μm. Fleece attributes varied significantly between all fleece components and among fleece sites (P
- The Suri should grow a very lustrous silky dense fibre, which hangs in individual locks, vertical to the body (similar to that of a mohair goat). These locks come in various types, with the ringlet formation and the wave with twist being the most popular.
- We aimed to quantify the number, type and arrangement of skin follicles in Huacaya and Suri alpaca skin and correlate their follicle characteristics with fibre traits of harvested fibre and compared these relationships with those of Merino sheep. Fibre and skin samples were collected from the mid-side of 12 Huacaya alpacas, 24 Suri alpacas and 10 Merino sheep. The mean fibre diameter (MFD ± s.e.) of the Huacaya and Suri were: 35.5 ± 0.9 and 28.3 ± 1.0 μm, respectively. The follicle groups found for alpacas were very different from the normal trio of primary follicles found in sheep and goats. The follicle group of the alpacas consisted of a single primary follicle surrounded by a variable number of secondary follicles. The mean ± s.e. primary follicle density was 3.1 ± 0.3 and 2.7 ± 0.1 follicles/mm2 for Huacaya and Suri, respectively. The mean ± s.e. secondary follicle density (SFD) was 13.7 ± 1.2 and 17.5 ± 0.6 follicles/mm2 for Huacaya and Suri, respectively. The mean ± s.e. ratio of secondary to primary follicles (S/P ratio) was 5.1 ± 0.5 for the Huacaya and 7.3 ± 0.2 for the Suri alpacas. The sheep had higher S/P ratios and SFD, lower MFD and produced significantly heavier fleeces. The key correlations found between traits in alpacas include a negative correlation between SFD and MFD (r = –0.71, P = 0.001) and a negative correlation between S/P ratio and MFD (r = –0.44, P = 0.003) and a positive correlation between S/P ratio and total follicle density (r = 0.38, P = 0.010). The study revealed that important relationships exist between alpaca skin follicle characteristics and fibre characteristics. It was the number of secondary follicles in a group that imparts density and a corresponding reduced MFD.
- Luxury fibers have great importance in the field of high added value fabric production, but the studies related to these fibers are very limited. One of these luxury proteinous fibers is alpaca wool. In this study, dyeing characteristics (dye-uptake speed, color efficiency and nuance of color, fastness properties, etc.) of alpaca fibers (Huacaya and Suri) were investigated by taking sheep wool as a reference. Furthermore, analysis such as scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy was also carried out. According to the experimental results it was found that both dye-uptake speed and amount was in the range of sheep > Suri alpaca > Huacaya alpaca for milling acid dye. Furthermore, when their fastness properties were compared with sheep wool, it could be said that there was no difference for washing and perspiration fastness, while rubbing and light fastness of alpaca fibers were lower than sheep wool.
- In order to make informed decisions on selecting quality foundation herd animals with desirable fiber characteristics, the new alpaca breeder must understand basic fiber anatomy and physiology. This section provides information that will help you understand the differences between suri and huacaya fiber and what makes a good fiber producing alpaca.