AC: Alpaca Canada
AFCNA: Alpaca Fiber Co-op of North America. Members contribute all or a portion of their alpaca fleece each year. Members may purchase, at less than wholesale prices, alpaca yarns and garments for their own use of to sell.
AGALACTIA: Absence of milk.
AGGREGATE BREEDING VALUE: Also net merit.The breeding value of an individual for a combination of traits.
AGOUTI: Thought to be a locus on the chromosome where color occurs. Sometimes also called the wild or natural color gene (this would be vicuna color in alpacas).
AGISTMENT: An arrangement in which an alpaca owner boards the animal at a location other than his own property.
ALLANTOIS: One of the fetal layers of the placenta, connected to the fetal bladder.
ALLELE: An alternative form of a gene.
ALPACA: Small, domesticated, fleece-bearing member of the camel family, native to South America.
ALPACA BREED STANDARD: Minimum Breed Standards for Alpacas
ALTIPLANO: The high plateau in southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia located around Lake Titicaca.
ALVEOLI: Small sac-like structures in the lung, site of oxygen exchange.
AMNION: Innermost fetal layer of the placenta, the amniotic sac surrounds the fetus.
AORTA: Large artery from the left ventricle of the heart distributing blood to body, high pressure.
AO: Alpaca Ontario.
AOBA: The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association.
APRON (bib): The chest area of an animal that may exhibit longer, coarser fiber than that found on the neck and shoulder.
ARI: see Registry.
ARTHROGRYPOSIS: Frozen joints of the limbs; often will preclude normal delivery. ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION (AI): A reproductive technology in which semen is collected from males, then used in fresh or frozen form to breed females.
ARTIFICIAL SELECTION: Selection that is under human control.
ATRESIA ANI: Congenital condition, anus of cria not connected to the intestines.
AYLLOS: Small remote Peruvian communities of Indian shepherds.
The mating of a hybrid to a purebred of a parent breed or line.
The mating of an individual (purebred or hybrid) to any other individual (purebred or hybrid) with which it has one or more ancestral breeds or lines in common.
BASE POPULATION: The population of animals whose parents are either unknown or ignored for the purposes of inbreeding and relationship calculation. Typically the individuals appearing at the back of the pedigrees of the original animals in a herd or flock.
BATT: A sheet of carded fiber, approximately 1/2 to 1" thick, and several feet long. The batt can be felted, or strips can be torn off and spun.
BC1: Backcross one. The first generation of crosses between hybrids and-purebreds of a parent breed or line.
BERSERK MALE: A male who was afforded too much affection by humans as a cria and shows no fear of them as an adult.
BIOLOGICAL TYPE: A classification for animals with similar genotypes for traits of interest. Examples include heavy draft types (horses), prolific wool types (sheep), large dual-purpose types (cattle), and tropically adapted types (many species).
BIOTECHNOLOGY: The application of biological knowledge to practical needs. Often refers to
technologies for altering reproduction, or
technologies for locating, identifying, comparing, or otherwise manipulating genes.
BIRD'S NEST (hay mow): A small portion of the fleece that is found at the base of the neck which often becomes highly contaminated with hay or other feed materials. It may extend along the backline of the animal. It should be removed. Good compost material.
BLANKET: The highest quality fleece which begins at the shoulder, runs the full length of the back and down each side until it meets the more medulated fiber on the belly. Excludes neck, leg, chest, belly, and britch. The term originated from the image of a horse's saddle blanket.
BLOODLINE: Breeder's term that alludes to pedigree.
BREED: A race of animals within a species. Animals of the same breed usually have a common origin and similar identifying characteristics.
BREEDING: Induced ovulation (no estrous cycle) through physical copulation between sire and dam.
A weighted combination of traits defining aggregate breeding, value for use in an economic selection index.
A general goal for a breeding program -- a notion of what constitutes the best animal.
The value of an individual as a (genetic) parent.
The part of an individual's genotypic value that is due to independent and therefore transmittable gene effects.
BREED TRUE: Alpacas breed true if two parents with a particular, simply inherited phenotype produce offspring of that same phenotype exclusively.
BREED TYPE: The look of an alpaca.
BREECH: Abnormal birth presentation, cria's rear legs or rear end presented first.
BRED FEMALE: A pregnant Alpaca.
BRED MAIDEN FEMALE: A female that has not yet had a cria and determined to be pregnant .
BROAD LIGAMENT: Suspensory ligament holding the uterus in place; stretching used as an indication of a uterine torsion.
BRONCHIOLES: Smallest distributive portion of the lungs, carrying air into the alveoli.
BUNDLED STAPLES: A grouping of microstaples that together form a larger staple. The formation of the microstaples is determined by the arrangement and density of the follicles in the skin. Bundling is said to be an indicator of a dense fleece, due to the evenness of follicle size and consistency of shape in the skin. (Cameron Holt, Private Correspondence.)
BURNING: Removing vegetable matter from fiber during processing through the use of chemicals.
CAMELID: (Camelids) The larger family in which lama pacos (the alpaca) is a member. This grouping also includes camels, llamas, guanacos and vicunas.
CAMPESINO: An agrarian peasant of Peru.
CARDING: The final cleaning process, accomplished by either hand or machine, through which alpaca fiber goes before spinning.
CERVIAL PLUG: Mucous plug formed in the cervix sealing the uterus.
CERVIX: Portion of the uterus separating the body of the uterus from the vagina; made of 2 or 3 muscular rings.
CHACU: A vicuna drive or capture that originated with the Incas.
CHARACTER: The overall evaluation of a fleece or lock as based on handle, staple length, fineness, density, luster and softness.
CHARACTERISTIC: A specific phenotypic trait, such as crimp or fineness.
CHLORHEXIDINE: Chemical used as a navel disinfectant.
CHOANAE: Caudal nares, connection of the back of the nose with pharynx.
CHOANAL ATRESIA: Congenital condition, probably heritable characterized by partial or complete bone or membrane blockage of the choanae.
CHORION: Outermost layer of the fetal membranes, contacts with uterine wall.
CHROMOSOME: One of a number of long strands of DNA and associated proteins present in the nucleus of every cell.
CH'UMPI: Quechua word for the color sorrel.
CLASSING: The grading and sorting of fleeces into consistent groups or uniform lines of fiber based on recognized quality characteristics such as micron, color, hand and staple length.
CLEFT PALATE: Congenital defect, opening remains between oral and nasal cavities, can cause signifigant problems with nursing.
CLIP: The total amount of fiber harvested by a producer in one growing period (which is usually one year) Older animals or animals with slow rates of growth may be shorn after a growing period of two years. Fleece that is left on an animal for more than one year may deteriorate in quality due to more extensive contamination, tenderness, sun bleaching, tip and fiber damage and felting.
CLOSE INBREEDING: A measure of the degree of relationship between ancestors. The more the relationship, the closer the inbreeding.
CLOSED NUCLEUS BREEDING SCHEME: A nucleus breeding scheme in which germ plasma flows in only one direction - from the nucleus to cooperating herds or flocks.
CLOSED POPULATION: A population that is closed to genetic material from the outside.
CO-EFFICIENT OF VARIATION (cv): The variation around the mean expressed as a percentage.
COLLATERAL RELATIVES: Relatives that are neither direct ancestors nor direct descendants of an individual--siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
COLOR GENES: Genes which determine an alpaca's coat color.
COLOSTRUM: First milk from the dam, high concentration of antibodies.
COMFORT INDEX: Index using temperature and humidity to estimate the potential for an animal to develop heat stress.
CONFORMATION: The shape or contour of the alpaca, resulting from the appropriate arrangement, or balance, of all body parts.
CONGENITAL: Present at birth, not necessarily heritable.
CORPUS LUTEUM: Temporary ovarian structure formed from the follicle following ovulation, source of progesterone.
CORRECTIVE MATING: The mating of alpacas that is intended to correct faults. For example; mating a dam with a bad bite to a stud with a good bite.
COVERAGE: A North American breeder term for abundant fiber growth which occurs in areas other than the primary blanket, i.e. between the ears (cap) and on the lower legs.
CRIA: A camelid less than one year old.
CRIMP: The regular undulation along the length of an individual fiber or lock of fiber. A higher number of crimps per inch can indicate a finer fiber.
CRINKLE: The even, corrugated wave formation in a single fiber of huacaya fleece.
CROSSING OVER: A reciprocal exchange of chromosome segments between homologues. Crossing over occurs during meiosis prior to the time the homologous chromosomes are separated to form gametes.
CULLING: The process that determines which animals in a herd will not be bred.
CURL: The spiraling, lustrous ringlets along the length of individual suri fibers which gives the coat a drenched look.
CUSH: Resting posture wherein the alpaca's legs are folded in thirds under it. The alpaca may assume this posture to avoid moving, and the female sits this way when receptive to breeding.
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid is the basis hereditary unit in all living things that transfers essential information from one generation to the next. Discovered and explained by scientists, Francis Crick and James Watson nearly 50 years ago, the double-helical redundant structure of DNA has changed the understanding or inheritance forever. The science of these pairings is expressed in a four letter DNA alphabet in the bases of A,T,C and G. In the double helix and A may pair with a G on the opposite strand and vice versa. In humans, giraffes, alpacas, and other large organisms, the DNA is usually found in the nucleus of cells. Each nucleus usually has around six billion pairs spread among their chromosomes.
DNA FINGERPRINTING: A laboratory method for graphically characterizing an individual's DNA, creating a unique genetic "fingerprint."
DNA MARKERS: Segments of DNA whose sequences can be compared across individuals of the dame species. These areas of comparison are often referred to as "sign posts" by geneticists. Scientists attempt to choose sign posts with low rates of mutation and high rates of polymorphism. This way. distinctions between individuals can easily be made parentage verifications.
DAM: A female parent.
DEGREE OF BACKCROSSING: The portion an alpaca's loci at which both genes of a pair trace to the same ancestral breed or line.
DENSITY: The number of fibers in a specific area of an alpaca's body.
DETORSE: Untwisting a uterine torsion.
DILUTION GENES: A modifier gene which visibly dilutes the expression of existing pigment, i.e., a fawn-colored animal which is diluted to the point of expressing itself as white.
DIRECT RESPONSE TO SELECTION: Genetic change in a trait resulting from selection for that trait.
DOMINANCE: An interaction between genes at a single locus such that, in heterozygotes, one allele has more effect than the other. The allele with the greater effect is dominant over its recessive counterpart.
DUCTUS ARTERIOSUS: Vessel conecting pulmonary artery to the aorta in the fetus, closes shortly after birth; allows blood to bypass lungs.
DYSMATURE: Full term cria yet seems premature, "at risk" cria.
DYSTOCIA: Difficulty in giving birth or being born.
ECONOMIC SELECTION INDEX: An index or combination of weighting factors and genetic information - either phenotypic data or genetic predictions - on more than one trait. Economic selection indexes are used in multiple-trait selection to predict aggregate breeding value.
EFFECTIVE POPULATION SIZE: The size of a population as reflected by its rate of inbreeding.
EFFICACY: A term that is synonymous with "probability of exclusion". The greater the probability of exclusion the greater the efficacy.
EGG CELL: Gamete.
EGGS: Ova; half of the genetic material of the future cria.
ELBOW LOCK: Elbows caught on the rim of the pelvis during delivery.
EMBRYO: An organism in the early stages of development in the shell (bird) or uterus (mammal).
EMBRYO TRANSFER: A reproductive technology in which embryos from donor females are collected and transferred in fresh or frozen form to recipient females.
ENDOMETRIUM: Inner lining of the uterus.
ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECT: The effect that external (nongenetic) factors have on animal performance.
ENVIRONMENTAL TREND: Change in the mean performance of a population over time caused by changes in environment.
EPISTASIS: An interaction among genes at different loci such that the expression of genes at one locus depends on the alleles present at one or more other loci.
ESTANCIA: A medium-sized farming property in single ownership, comparable to a western United States ranch.
ESTIMATED BREEDING VALUE: A prediction of a breeding value. See breeding value.
ESTRADIOL-17: Type of estrogen produced by the follicle, probably a major factor influencing sexual receptivity in the female.
ESTROGEN: Class of steroid hormones produced by the follicle and placenta.
ESTRUS: Period of sexual receptivity.
EUMELANIN: See melanin.
EXCLUSION: The scientific proof that a particular individual (or mating) could not have resulted in the genetic material found in another individual. The greater the probability of exclusion, the greater the efficacy and the more ironclad the registry.The DNA-based tests for camelids created at the University of California at Davis have an efficacy rate of 98% whereas the test designed by Generatio in Heidelberg, Germany has an efficacy rate of 99%. These two tests are close to foolproof.
EXTENSION LOCUS: Thought to be a locus on the chromosome where color occurs or is modified.
F1: The first generation of crosses between two unrelated (though not necessarily purebred) populations.
F1 HYBRID VIGOR: The amount of hybrid vigor attainable in first-cross individuals.
F2: The generation of crosses produced by mating F1 (first-cross) individuals among themselves.
FAILURE OF PASSIVE TRANSFER: Inadequate absorption of immunoglobulins from colostrum during the first 24 hours following delivery.
FALLOPIAN TUBE: Old terminology for the uterine tube, carries ovum to uterus.
FAMILY: A group of related individuals within a population, most often applied to half-sib and full-sib families, but which can be applied to less related groups including all descendants of a particular ancestor.
FERTILITY: The ability of a female to conceive or of a male to impregnate.
FIBER: The fleece of the alpaca also known as wool or fur.
FINENESS: A measure, in microns, of the diameter of individual fibers. Most often expressed as an average for a representative sample of fiber.
The ability of an individual and its corresponding phenotype and genotype to contribute offspring to the next generation.
The number of offspring an individual produces, not just its ability to be selected.
FITNESS TRAIT: A trait selected for by natural selection. Fitness traits relate to an animal's ability to survive and reproduce.
FIXATION: The point at which a particular allele becomes the only allele at its locus in a population - the frequency of the allele becomes one.
FLEECE: An alpaca's fiber. Sometimes used when referring to the full production from one alpaca "a fleece".
FLEECE WEIGHT: The weight of an entire fleece measured at the same time each season.
FLUFFINESS: see loft.
FOLLICLES: Fluid filled structures in the ovary, contain eggs, source of estrogens.
FOLLICULAR WAVE: Pattern of development and regression of ovarian follicles; if the animal is not mated and ovulation does not occur, the mature follicle regresses (dies) and new follicle(s) develop.
FOREMEN OVALE: Connecting hole between the right and left sides of the heart during development, closes shortly after birth.
FSH: Follicle stimulating hormone - released from the pituitary to stimulate follicular development in the ovary.
GAMETE: A sex cell; a sperm or egg.
GAMETE SELECTION: The process that determines which egg matures and which sperm succeeds in fertilizing the egg.
GASTRIC GROOVE: Muscular fold from the esophagus to the third compartment of stomach; permits milk to bypass the first and second compartments in the nursing cria.
GELDING: A male whose testicles have been removed, rendering incapable of reproduction. Males are typically gelded between 18-24 months. Gelding younger is thought to result in disproportionately long legs. Gelding is believed to stabilize the male's fleece quality, avoiding the coarsening effect of the male hormone testosterone.
GENE: The basic physical unit of heredity consisting of a DNA sequence at a specific location on a chromosome.
GENE FREQUENCY: Also allelic frequency. The relative frequency of a particular allele in a population.
GENE LINKAGE: The occurrence of two or more loci of interest on the same chromosome.
GENE MAP: Also a linkage map or chromosome map. A diagram showing the chromosomal locations of specific genetic markers and genes of interest.
The amount of time required to replace one generation with the next.
In a closed population, the average age of parents when their selected offspring are born.
A measure of the strength (consistency, reliability) of the relationship between breeding values for one trait and breeding values for another trait.
A measure of pleiotropy (the production of change in more than one trait).
GENETIC MARKER: A detectable gene or DNA fragment used to identify alleles at a linked locus.
GENETIC MERIT: The accumulative positive genotype of an individual animal or herd which can be passed onto progeny.
GENETIC PREDICTION: The area of academic animal breeding concerned with measurement of data, statistical procedures, and computational techniques for predicting breeding values and related values.
GENETIC TREND: Change in the mean breeding value of a population over time.
GENETIC VARIATION: In the context of the key equation for genetic change, variability of breeding values within a population for a trait under selection.
The genetic makeup of an individual.
The combination of genes at a single locus or at a number of loci. Geneticists speak of one-locus genotypes, two-locus genotypes, and so on.
GENOTYPIC VALUE: The effect of an individual's genes (singly and in combination) on its performance for a trait.
GERM CELL: A sex cell; a sperm or egg; a gamete.
GERM PLASMA: Genetic material in the form of live animals, semen, or embryos.
GRADING-UP: Also topcrossing.
A mating system designed to create a purebred population by mating successive generations of non-purebred females to purebred sires.
A mating system designed to convert a population from one breed to another by mating successive generations of females descended from the first breed to sires of the second breed.
GREASY ALPACA FLEECE: A commercial term identifying unwashed alpaca fleece.
GUANACO: A wild member of the New World camelidae family, Lama gunaimicoe.
GUARD HAIR: Also kemp. Coarse medulated fiber. A second coat of fiber found in llamas, vicuna, guanacos, and, to a lesser degree, alpacas.
HACIENDA: A large land holding that originated with the land grant system used by Spanish conquistadores. In size, comparable to an American plantation.
HALF SIBS: Half brothers and sisters.
HANDLE: The way an alpaca fiber feels when touched; sometimes used interchangeably with softness.
HEMBRA: Female alpaca or animal.
HERDSIRE: A male alpaca with genetic characteristics desirable for breeding.
HERITABILITY: A measure of the strength of the relationship between performance (phenotypic values) and breeding values for a trait in a population. Heritability in the broad sense.
HOMOLOGUE: One of a pair of chromosomes having corresponding loci.
HETEROZYGOUS: A one-locus genotype containing different alleles which express themselves in different ways.
The most common graphical presentation of quantitative data. The variable of interest, such as fiber diameter measured in microns, is placed on the horizontal axis and the frequency values, such as the percentage of fibers per micron, are placed on the vertical axis.
A micron test report that includes administrative information provided by the identification sent in with the individual sample. The histogram on such a report depicts the measurement of 2000 fibers in scale.
HOMOZYGOUS: A one-locus genotype containing identical alleles which express themselves in identical fashion.
HUACAYA:A breed of alpaca characterized by a well-crimped fleece that grows perpendicular to the skin.
HUACAYA ALPACA PHENOTYPE: Alpaca with a squared-off appearance and four strong legs. It is a graceful, well proportioned animal with fiber coverage from the top of the head to the toes. The fleece looks wavy or crimpy giving the Huacaya a fluffy "teddy-bear-like" appearance.
HUARIZO: A crossbred animal. A term most often used to describe a llama-alpaca cross. Characterized by weak, medulated fiber and poor breed type.
HYBRID: An individual that is a combination of species, breeds within species, or lines within breeds.
HYBRID VIGOR: An increase in the performance of hybrids over that of purebreds, most noticeably in traits such as fertility and survivability.
HYPERTHERMIA: Body temperature elevated above the normal range.
HYPOTHERMIA: Unusually low body temperature.
HYPOXIA: Insufficient oxygen, used in this context as inadequate oxygen supply to the cria during delivery.
IDENTICAL BY DESCENT: Two genes that are copies of a single ancestral gene.
ILIUM: One of the bones forming the pelvis, wings join to the sacrum.
IMMUNOGLOBULINS: Anitbodies, sometimes also called IgG.
INBREEDING: The mating of relatives.
INBREEDING CO-EFFICIENT: The measure of the level of inbreeding in an individual determined by
the probability that both genes of a pair in an individual are identical by descent, or
the probable proportion of an individual's loci containing genes that are identical by descent.
INBREEDING DEPRESSION: The reverse of hybrid vigor. A decrease in the performance of inbreds, most noticeably in traits such as fertility and survivability.
INDEPENDENT ASSORTMENT: The independent segregation of genes at different loci during gamete formation.
INDEPENDENT CULLING LEVELS: Minimum standards for traits undergoing multiple trait selection. Animals failing to meet any one standard are rejected regardless of merit in other traits.
INDEPENDENT GENE EFFECT: The effect of a gene independent of the effect of the other gene at the same locus (dominance) and the effects of genes at other loci (epistasis).
INDICATOR TRAIT: A trait that may or may not be important in itself, but is selected for as a way of improving some other genetically correlated trait.
INDIRECT SELECTION: Selection for one trait as a means of improving a genetically correlated trait.
INDUCED OVULATORS: Mating stimulus is required for rupture of a mature ovarian follicle to occur.
ISCHIUM: One of the bones forming the pelvis, caudal bones.
JOHNE'S DISEASE: Bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis.
KEMP: Guard hair or medulated fiber.
LAMA: Scientific name for the genus containing llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicunas; vicunas are sometimes separated into their own genus.
LAMA PACOS: The alpaca.
LH: Luteinizing hormone, a pituitary hormone released in response to mating in the camelids, stimulating ovulation.
LINE: A group of related animals within a breed.
LINEBREEDING: The mating of individuals within a particular line. A mating system designed to maintain a substantial degree of relationship to a highly regarded ancestor or group of ancestors without causing high levels of inbreeding.
LINECROSSING: The mating of sires of one line or line combination to dams of another line or line combination.
LINKAGE: The occurrence of two or more loci of interest on the same chromosome.
LINKAGE ANALYSIS: A mathematical procedure that uses information from pedigreed populations to determine whether two loci are linked and, if so, how closely.
LIVE BIRTH: A portion of most alpaca purchase contracts involving a bred female, in which the seller guarantees that the cria, when born, will be alive and survive for a stated minimal amount of time, usually 48 hours.
LOCK: An organized cluster of fibers, in size anywhere from a noodle to a man's thumb. In a suri, the fibers may twist together to form a ringlet.
LOCUS/LOCI: The specific location of a gene on a chromosome.
LOFT: The springiness in fiber as it returns to normal after being squeezed; sometimes used synonymously with fluffiness.
LUSTER: A glowing sheen that is desirable in alpaca fiber. Most noticeable in suri fiber.
MACHO: Male alpaca used in a breeding program.
MAJOR GENE: A gene that has a readily discernible effect on a trait.
MATERNAL HYBRID VIGOR: Hybrid vigor for the maternal component of a trait.
MATERNAL TRAIT: A trait especially important in breeding females. Examples include fertility, freedom from dystocia, milk production, maintenance efficiency, and mothering ability.
MATING: The process that determines which (selected) males are bred to which (selected) females.
MATING SYSTEM: A set of rules for mating.
MASTITIS: Infection of the mammary glands.
MEAN: An arithmetic average.
MECONIUM: The first fecl material defecated following birth, dark tarry appearance.
MEDULLA: The hollow core found in coarse guard hair or kemp fibers, often found in the chest and underbelly portions of the fleece.
MEDULLATION: The degree to which a fleece contains medullated hair.
MEIOSIS: The process of germ cell formation.
MELANIN: Pigment in skin which determines skin and coat color. Melanin is found in two chemically different forms: eumelanin (which produces brown and black) and phaeomelanin (which produces yellow and red).
MELANOCYTES: An epidermal cell that produces melanin.
MENDELIAN SAMPLING: The random sampling of parental genes caused by segregation and independent assortment of genes during germ cell formation, and by random selection of gametes in the formation of the embryo.
MERIT: A praiseworthy quality.
MICRON: A measurement of fiber diameter, equal to 1/25,000 of an inch, or 1/1000th of a millimeter. Used to refer to the fineness of a fiber: a smaller micron equals finer fiber.
MICROSATELLITE: A term used by DNA scientists to describe a segment of DNA in which the bases repeat themselves in tandem sequences, for example; CTGTTAATTGCACACACACACACACACACACACA. CA is repeated 12 times and each parent contributed the same number of variants (12) to the offspring's genetic identity.
MIDSIDE: A point approximately midway between the front and rear legs and just lower than half way down the side of an animal.
MIGRATION: The movement of individuals into or out of a population. MILLO: Quechua word for the color light fawn.
MODIFIER GENES: Genes that affect the expression of a primary gene or trait, often progressive in effect with a wide range of expression.
MULTICOLOR: An animal that incorporates more than one color in its coat.
MULTI-GENES: Genes that affect multicoloration in alpacas.
MULTIPAROUS: Females that have had at lest one previous cria.
MULTIPLE ALLELES: More than two possible alleles at a locus.
MULTIPLE-SIRE PASTURE: A breeding pasture (or pen) containing more than one sire at a time.
MULTIPLE-TRAIT SELECTION: Selection for more than one trait.
MUTATION: Specifically point mutation. The process that alters DNA to create new alleles.
NATURAL SELECTION: Selection that occurs in nature independent of deliberate human control.
NATURAL SERVICE: Natural mating (as opposed to artificial insemination).
NEGATIVE ASSORTATIVE MATING: The mating of dissimilar individuals.
NO DOMINANCE: A form of dominance in which the expression of the heterozygote is exactly midway between the expressions of the homozygous genotypes.
NON-RANDOM MATING: Any mating system in which males are not randomly assigned to females.
NORMAL DISTRIBUTION: The statistical distribution that appears graphically as a symmetric, bell-shaped curve. In animal breeding, the values along the horizontal axis represent the levels of performance, breeding value, etc., that are being examined in a population; the height of the curve at any point represents the relative frequency of that value in the population.
NUCLEUS BREEDING SCHEME: A cooperative breeding program in which elite animals are concentrated in a nucleus herd or flock and superior germ plasm is then distributed among cooperative herds or flocks to the nucleus.
ORGLE: Characteristic rapid grunting sound made by breeding males during copulation.
OUTBREEDING: Also outcrossing. The mating of unrelated individuals.
OUTCROSS BY PEDIGREE: The mating of individuals that are not related by pedigree; often called outcrossing.
OVERDOMINANCE: A form of dominance in which the expression of the heterozygote is outside the range defined by the expressions of the homozygous genotypes and most closely resembles the expression of the homozygous dominant genotype.
OVIDUCT: Old terminology for uterine tube, Fallopian tube.
OWN PERFORMANCE DATA: Information on an individual's own phenotype.
PACO VICUNA: A crossbred or hybrid vicuna and alpaca.
PACCO: Quechua word for an Indian priest.
PARTIAL DOMINANCE: A form of dominance in which the expression of the heterozygote is intermediate to the expressions of the homozygous genotypes and more closely resembles the expression of the homozygous dominant genotype.
PARTURITION: The process of giving birth; also called birthing.
PASTERNS: Region of foot from the fetlock to the ground.
PATENT URACHUS: Tube connecting fetal bladder to the allantoic sac remained abnormally open postpartum, drips urine.
PATERNAL BREED: A breed that excels in paternal traits.
PATERNAL TRAIT: A trait especially important in market offspring. Examples include rate and efficiency of gain, meat quality, and carcass yield.
PATH METHOD: A method for calculating inbreeding and relationship co-efficients that simulates the paths taken by identical genes as they flow from ancestors to descendants.
PEDIGREE: A recorded list or genealogy of an alpaca's ancestors. A registered or recorded known line of descent.
PEDIGREE DATA: Information on the genotype or performance of ancestors and/or collateral relatives of an individual.
PEDIGREE RELATIONSHIP: Relationships between animals due to kinship, such as full-sibs, half-sibs, and parent-offspring relationships.
PELVIC INLET: Region encircled by the sacrum, ilium and pubis.
PELVIS: Bony structure forming the hips; cria has to pass thru during delivery.
PERCENTAGE VERIFICATION: A DNA test to determine whether or not a specific female or male could be the parent of a specific offspring.
PERITONEAL CAVITY: Abdominal cavity.
PET MALE: A male alpaca whose genetic characteristics are not considered desirable for breeding; usually gelded at 9-12 months of age.
PHAEOMELANIN: See melanin.
PHENOTYPE: An observed category or measured level of performance for a trait in an individual.
PHENOTYPIC CORRELATION: The measure of the strength (consistency, reliability) of the relationship between performance in one trait and performance in another trait.
PHENOTYPIC SELECTION: Selection based solely on an individual's phenotype.
PHENOTYPIC SELECTION DIFFERENTIAL: The difference between the mean performance of those individuals selected to be parents and the average performance of all potential parents, expressed in units of the trait.
PHENOTYPIC SELECTION INDEX: A form of economic selection index used with phenotypic selection. In the classic form of phenotypic index, the traits in the index are identical to the traits in the breeding objective.
PIEBALD: Pinto; in the New Zealand color study, an alpaca with white and black patches.
PINTO: A two-colored animal characterized by large patches of color.
PLANTEL: The best of the plantation. Often used to refer to the finest of the herd or the best breeding stock.
POLYDACTYLISM: Having many toes, or more than the ordinary complement of toes.
POLYGENES: Multiple genes that affect the same trait.
POLYGENIC TRAIT: A trait affected by many genes, no single gene has an over-riding influence.
POPULATION: A group of intermating individuals. The term can refer to a breed, an entire species, a single herd or flock, or even a small group of animals within a herd.
POPULATION GENETICS: The study of factors affecting gene and genotypic frequencies in a population.
POPULATION MEAN: The average phenotypic value of all individuals in population.
POPULATION MEASURE: Any measure applied to a population as opposed to an individual.
POSITIVE ASSORTATIVE MATING: The mating of similar individuals.
PREPOTENCY: The ability of an individual to produce progeny whose performance is especially like its own and/or is especially uniform.
PRIME FLEECE: The best fleece an alpaca will ever produce, usually its first coat called Tui.
PRIMIPAROUS: First time mom, never previously delivered a cria.
PRODUCING ABILITY: The performance potential of an individual for a repeated trait.
PROGENY DATA: Information on the genotype or performance of descendants of an individual.
PROGENY DIFFERENCE: Also transmitting ability. Half an individual's breeding value. The expected difference between the mean performance of the individual's progeny and the mean performance of all progeny (assuming randomly chosen mates).
PROGENY TEST: A test used to help predict an individual's breeding values involving multiple matings of that individual and evaluation of its offspring.
PROGESTERONE: Steroid hormone produced by the corpus luteum, maintains pregnancy.
PROVEN FEMALE ALPACA: A female which has already had a cria. Proven producers are considered to be fertile.
PROVEN MALE ALPACA: A male that has settled a female or that has been tested fertile. Proven males are considered to be fertile.
PUBIS: Bone forming the floor of the,pelvis.
PUNA: The high barren tundra zone of the Andes mountains.
PUNNETT SQUARE: A two-dimensional grid used to determine the possible zygotes obtainable from a mating.
PUREBLOOD: An animal of unmixed ancestry; bred from members of a recognized breed or strain without a mixture of other blood over many generations.
PUREBRED: Wholly of one breed or line (as opposed to crossbred).
PUREBREEDING: Also straightbreeding. The mating of purebreds of the same breed.
QIEILU: Quechua word for the color yellow.
QUALITATIVE TRAIT: A trait in which phenotypes are expressed in categories.
QUANTITATIVE TRAIT: A trait in which phenotypes show continuous (numerical) expression.
QUECHUA: A group of Indian peoples of Central Peru. Original founders of the Incan civilization. Today, the Quechuan people are the primary shepherds of alpaca in the Altiplano.
QUINTAL: Hundred weight (metric system).
RADIAL IMMUNODIFFUSION TEST: Diagnostic test used to measure serum IgC concentrations.
RANDOM MATING: The joining of animals on an entirely random basis without regard to pedigree or phenotype.
REBREEDING: A standard portion of bred female sales agreement in which the seller offers rebreeding (usually free) to his sire in the event the cria does not survive long enough to satisfy the live birth clause in the contract. May also involve a free or reduced-fee rebreeding of the dam after the successful birth of the cria.
RECESSIVENESS: See DOMINANCE.
RECOMBINATION: The formation of a new combination of genes on a chromosome as a result of crossing over.
REFERENCE SIRE: These sires leave offspring in several, possibly all, of the cooperating flocks. The offspring of the reference sires can then be compared with the offspring of any other sires used in the same flock. Thus, the best males in the whole of the group breeding scheme:
can be identified, with the help of appropriate statistical programs;
can become available to the scheme as a whole; and
can be used to breed the next generation of males.
REGISTRY: The Alpaca Registry was created in 1988 and is the central storage and retrieval center for all information on almost every alpaca in the United States. The Registry records and maintains data on pedigrees, blood typing, registry numbers and other vital information on registered alpacas, and makes this data available upon request.
A measure of the strength of the relationship between repeated records (repeated phenotypic values) for a trait in a population.
A measure of the strength of the relationship between single performance records (phenotypic values) and producing abilities for a trait in a population.
In dairy publications, accuracy of prediction.
REPEATED BACKCROSSING: A mating system used to incorporate an allele or alleles existing in one population into another population. An initial cross is followed by successive generations of backcrossing combined with selection for the desired allele(s).
REPEATED TRAIT: A trait for which individuals commonly have more than one performance record.
REPLACEMENT RATE: The rate at which newly selected individuals replace existing parents in a population.
REPLACEMENT SELECTION: The process that determines which individuals will become parents for the first time.
RETAINED PLACENTA: Placenta that has not been expelled by 6 hours post-partum.
ROAN: Animal coat color determined by a fairly uniform mix of colored fibers. For example, the coat of a silver alpaca is actually made up of intermittent black and white fibers.
ROUND LOT: Standard, historical sale unit of raw alpaca fiber which was made up of several colors in agreed-upon percentages. The term is no longer used.
SACRUM: A portion of the vertebral column attached to the pelvic bones.
SCHISTOSOMAS REFLEXUS: Developmental abnormality with the cria's viscera (intestines, etc) developing outside the body cavity.
SECOND CUTS: Short, prickly fibers created when the fleece is cut twice. This can happen when the shears come away from the body of the animal leaving a ridge that gets cut twice. Any fleece ridges that do occur can be left on the animal and do grow out to a uniform look in several months time. Alternatively, the ridges can be cleaned off at a later time so as not to contaminate the fleece when they are sheared.
SEEDSTOCK: Breeding stock; animals whose role is to be a parent or, in other words, to contribute genes to the next generation.
SEGREGATION: The separation of paired genes during germ cell formation.
SELECTION: The process that determines which individuals become parents, how many offspring they may produce, and how long they remain in the breeding population.
SELECTION ACCURACY: Also accuracy of breeding value prediction. The measure of the strength of the relationship between true breeding values and their predictions for a trait under selection.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Phenotypic values or other pieces of information that form the basis for selection decisions.
SELECTION DIFFERENTIAL: The difference between the mean selection criterion of those individuals selected to be parents and the average selection criterion of all potential parents, expressed in units of the selection criterion.
SELECTION INDEX: A linear combination of phenotypic information and weighting factors used for genetic prediction when performance data comes from generally similar contemporary groups. See also economic selection index.
A measure of how particular breeders are in deciding which individuals are selected.
The difference between the mean selection criterion of those individuals selected to be parents and the average selection criterion of all potential parents, expressed in standard deviation units.
SELECTION RISK: The risk that the true breeding values of replacements will be significantly poorer than expected.
SELECTION SYSTEM: The method a breeder chooses to select breeding stock.
SELECTION TARGET: A level of breeding value considered optimal in an absolute or practical sense.
SEQUENCING: Recording or reading the order of bases (A,T,C,G) that makes up a particular DNA segment, such as CTAGGAT.
SHEAR WEIGHT: (Fleece weight). The weight of all usable fiber taken off an animal at shearing.
SHEARING: The once a year harvesting of alpaca fibers usually carried out in mid-Spring in order to make the alpaca cooler through the summer and allow the coat to grow back before the cold of winter returns.
SIMPLY INHERITED TRAIT: A trait affected by only a few genes.
SINGLE-TRAIT SELECTION: Selection for one trait.
SIRE: A male parent.
SIRE SUMMARY: A list of genetic predictions, accuracy values, and other useful information about the sires in a breed.
SKEWBALD: Pinto; in the New Zealand color study, an alpaca with white and brown patches.
SKIRT: Remove vegetation and other contamination for a shorn fleece.
SLIVERS: A continuous, untwisted strand or rope of parallel alpaca fibers approximately uniform in cross-section, produced by the carding and drawing process. Carded slivers are blended prior to combing in the manufacture of worsted yarn.
SOLES: Peruvian currency.
SOFTNESS: see handle.
SPECIALTY FIBERS: The fleece and fleece products of the goat and camel families, including mohair, cashmere, angora, alpaca, vicuna, guanaco, and camels.
SPERM CELL: Gamete.
SPINNING: The process of twisting fiber into yarn, accomplished either with commerical machinery, as pinning wheel or a drop spindle.
SPOTTING GENES: A gene which may control spots or color pattern on an alpaca. The existence of a spotting gene has not been scientifically verified.
STANDARD DEVIATION: A mathematical measure of variation that can be thought of as an average deviation from the mean. The square root of the variance.
STAPLE LENGTH: The length of a lock or length of shorn alpaca fleece.
STAPLE: An organized independent group or cluster of individual fibers. A large number of staples constitute a fleece.
STUD: Herdsire. (Australia: a ranch which offers stud services.)
STYLE: see character.
SURFACTANT: Lubricant in the lungs, allows the alveoli to expand more easily.
SURI: A breed of alpaca characterized by lustrous locks of fleece that lay close to the body, twisting vertically toward the ground.
SYNDACTYLISM: Having two or more toes fused together.
TAGS: Bits of coarse, felted or short fiber from areas such as the topknot and lower legs. Usually not used for yarns but may work for felting. Good compost material.
TEMPORARY ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECT: An environmental effect that influences a single performance record of an individual but does not permanently affect the individual's performance potential for a repeated trait.
TENDER: Fleece that breaks easily at one or more points along the length of the fibre. Often caused by some trauma, stress or health problem suffered by the animal at a time that correlates to the break points.
TERMINAL SIRE: A paternal-breed sire used in a terminal sire crossbreeding system.
TEST CROSS: Also test mating. A mating designed to reveal the genotype of an individual for a small number of loci.
TOPCROSSING: Grading up.
TOPKNOT: see wool cap.
TOPS: A continuous, untwisted strand of combed alpaca fibers from which the shorter fibers have been removed by combing.
TRAIT: Any observable or measurable characteristic of an individual.
TRAIT OF THE DAM: A trait in which each progeny record is attributed to the dam, not the offspring.
TRAIT OF THE OFFSPRING: A trait in which each record is attributed to an offspring, not to its dam.
TUI: A weanling alpaca. Generally, from weaning at approximately 6 months until the alpaca is one year old.
UDDER EDEMA: Swelling around the mammary glands, excessive fluid in region.
UMBILICAL CORD: Fetal tissue carrying blood vessels and urachus from cria to placenta.
UNSOUNDNESS: Any condition that prevents a part of the body from functioning maximally.
URACHUS: Fetal vessel connecting the fetus to the allantoic sac, carries fetal urine.
UTERINE PAPILLA: Junction of the uterine tube with the uterine horn.
UTEINE PROLAPSE: Expulsion or eversion of the uterus.
UTERINE TORSION: Twisting of the uterus, a problem during late gestation.
UTERINE TUBE: Tube carrying the ovum from the ovary to the uterus.
UTERUS: Anatomic portion of the female reproductive tract where the cria develops.
UTERUS UNICORNUS: Abnormal condition in which only one horn (usually left) of the uterus is present, congenital and perhaps hereditary.
VAGINA: Muscular passage from the uterus to the outside of the female.
VALUE: Any measure applied to an individual as opposed to a population. Examples are phenotypic value, genotypic value, breeding value, and environmental effect.
VARIABILITY: The differences between animals within a given population.
VARIATION: In most animal breeding applications, the differences among individuals within a population.
VENTRICLE: Lower portion of the heart; blood is pumped from the right ventricle to the lungs and left ventricle to the body.
VICUNA: Native South American camelid, thought to be the ancestor of the domesticated alpaca. Vicunas, which exhibit the finest natural fiber in the world, can cross-breed with alpacas.
VULVA: External opening of the vagina, in the perineum.
YARA: Quechua word for the color black.
WALL BABY: Behavior problem in the cria, baby will attempt to nurse in dark corner.
WEANLING: A weaned alpaca less tha one year old.
WOOL CAP: Wool on the alpaca's head and between its ears which is considered a desirable aesthetic quality; also known as the topknot.
WOOLEN: Yarn made from fibers that are one to three inches in length and that have been carded only. Fabrics of woolen yarn are characterized as being fuzzy, thick, and bulky.
WORSTED: Yam spun from fibers three inches in length or longer that have been carded, combed, and drawn. Combing machines straighten alpaca slivers, making the individual fibers lie parallel.
WRY FACE: Congenital condition, twisting of the upper jaw or face to one side.
YEARLING: An alpaca one to two years old. This is the "teenage" phase for an alpaca.
YOUNG FEMALE ALPACA: A female that has been checked by a veterinarian and has been found to have anatomically normal reproductive tract.
YOUNG MALE ALPACA: A male that has been checked by a veterinarian and has been found to have anatomically normal reproductive organs.
YURAQ: Quechua word for the color white.
ZYGOTE: A cell formed from the union of male and female gametes. A zygote has a full complement of genes - half from the sperm and half from the egg.
Alpacas are small, endearing animals of the camelid family (other members include llamas, camels, vicunas and guanacos). They were domesticated over 5,000 years ago and became a cherished treasure of the ancient Inca civilization. Their fine cashmere-like fleece was once reserved for Incan royalty.
Alpacas produce fibre that is as fine as cashmere, soft, silky and much warmer than sheep's wool. With the exception of mohair, alpacas produce the strongest animal fibre in the world. Their fleece comes in 22 natural colours, the widest assortment of colours of any fibre-bearing animal. Prized for its unique silky feel and superb handle, alpaca fibre is highly sought after by the textile makers of Britain, Europe and Japan.
Alpacas have a life span of 20 - 25 years. Adults weight 100 - 180 lbs and stand 34 - 36 inches high at the withers. Baby alpacas, called crias, generally weight 14 - 20 lbs at birth. Gestation is approximately 11 months. As a rule, alpacas are born during the day, usually between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Alpacas communicate through soft humming noises and a unique body language.
Today, in Canada, alpacas are raised for their exquisite fibre, and are enjoyed for their delightful personalities as well as the financial returns of raising and breeding them.
There are two types or breeds of alpaca, the huacaya and the suri, which differ primarily in the character of their fibre. The huacaya, the most common alpaca breed has a crimped or wavy fleece, whereas the suri has straight, lustrous fibre. In full fleece, the huacaya has a full, fluffy appearance, while the suri is elegantly draped in long, wavy locks.
Various worsted and woollen mills in Canada offer custom processing of alpaca fibre into various yarns, fabric and felt. Sweaters, blankets, mitts, socks, shawls, hats and duvets can be purchased through various home-based businesses.
More information about these amazing animals is available from Alpaca Canada.