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Vicugna

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Definition

noun, plural: vicugnas

A camelid native to South America, particularly on the plains of the Andes, and is closely related to the llama and other camelids


Supplement

A vicugna (vicuña) is a camelid native to the elevated plains of the Andes. It can roam and live at altitudes of 3,200 to 4,800 m.1 It is allied to the llama but it is relatively smaller. It is supposed to descend from domesticated alpacas. Compared with alpacas that are mainly domesticated, most of the vicugnas are wild and are hunted for their wool and flesh. They have a thick coat of very fine reddish brown wool, and long, pendent white hair on the breast and belly. Their wool is extremely fine (i.e. at a diameter of 12 μm, which makes it one of the finest fibers in the world) and therefore can be very expensive. Their wool is popular because it can interlock and trap insulating air thus providing warmth.1

The vicugnas belong to the family Camelidae together with the other New World camelids such as llamas, guanacos, and alpacas. Compared with guanacos, the vicugnas are smaller in height and the head is shorter.


Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Camelidae
  • Tribe: Lamini
  • Genus: Vicugna
  • Species: V. vicugna [Molina, 1782]

See also:


Reference(s):
1 Vicuña. Retrieved from [1].