Difference Between Llama and Alpaca

Main Difference – Llama vs Alpaca

Llama and alpaca are two domestic camelid species that belong to family Camelidae of mammalian order Artiodactyla. The camelids were first originated on the North American continent forty million years ago. Some of these animals migrated to Asian and African continents while others migrated to South America. However, all the camelids who lived in North America became extinct. Nevertheless, the descendants of the members who migrated to Asia and Africa, and South America are still surviving today. The camelids including Dromedary camel and Bactrian camel, and their South African cousins include Ilama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuna live in Asia and Africa. It is believed that these animals were first used for domestic purposes in Peru, about 4000-5000 years ago. Even today, llamas are used to obtain meat, milk, hides and wool, while alpacas are used mainly for wool. These animals are physiologically well adapted to intake and utilize oxygen very efficiently under the low level of atmospheric oxygen at high elevations. The main difference between llama and alpaca is that the lamas have characteristic coarse wool within the range of 20-80 μm diameter, whereas alpacas have longer and finer wool. More details of llama and alpaca and their differences will be discussed in this article.

Llama – Facts, Characteristics and Behaviour

Llama is the largest camelid species living in New World, weighing between 130 to 155 kg. This species is characterized by the presence of relatively coarse wool with a wide range of colors including white, black, shades of brown, red and beige. The coat may have markings patterns from solid to spotted. Llamas have long necks with the height of 5.5 to 6 feet when standing. They live approximately 20 to 25 years. Llamas are browsers that mainly feed on tall Ichu bruch grass vegetation along slopes.

Difference Between Llama and Alpaca

Alpaca – Facts, Characteristics, and Behavior 

Alpaca is one-half of the size of llama and characterized by the presence of coat with longer and finer wool. They weigh between 45-75 kg and are about 4.5 tall at head when standing. Alpacas have 22 coat colors, including white, roan, black, pinto, brown, fawn, rose, red and gray. Based on the type of fleece, there are two types of alpacas. Huacaya fiber is dense and crimped, whereas Suri fiber is white, curly and non-crimped. Unlike llamas, alpacas are mainly used for their wool. An adult alpaca usually produce about 1.8 kg of fleece every year. Their life span is usually about 20-25 years. In South American region, alpacas are only found in high-elevated grounds in Andes of Peru and Bolivia and a small population in northern Chile and northwestern Argentina. They are grazers and prefer to feed on bottomland bofedale vegetation.

Main Difference - Llama vs Alpaca

Difference Between Llama and Alpaca

Scientific Names

Llama is scientifically known as Lama glama.

Alpaca is scientifically known as Vicugna pacos.

Body Size

Llama is larger than alpaca.

Alpaca is half the size of llama.

Characteristic Feature

Llama has relatively coarse wool.

Alpaca has longer and finer wool.

Weight

An adult llama weighs between 130-155 kg.

An adult alpaca weighs between 45-75 kg.

Coat Color

Llama wool color is usually white, but also available in black, shades of brown, red, and beige.

Alpaca wool is available in 22 colors including black, white, pinto, brown, red, fawn, rose and gray.

Purpose as a Domestic Animal

Llama is used for meat, wool, milk and hides.

Alpaca is mainly used for wool.Difference between Llama and Alpaca - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Llama” by Johann “nojhan” Dréo – IMG_1418,  via

“Alpaca” by Johann Dréo from Château-Thierry, France – IMG_1419,  via

About the Author: Yashoda

Yashoda has been a freelance writer in the field of biology for about four years. He is an expert in conducting research related to polymer chemistry and nano-technology. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Applied Science and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Chemistry.


Related pages


difference between dependent and independent clausethe difference between interstate and intrastatewhats a personificationamid or amidstassonance alliterationjure definitioncognac or brandy differencewhat is a totipotentdifference between kinetic and static frictionpaintings in ajanta cavesvowels and consonants definitiondifference between yam & sweet potatoallegory and metaphordifference between amylopectin and amylosems and msc differenceoropneathree examples of heterogeneous mixtureswhat is the difference between dominant and recessive genesgst refund at sydney airportwhat is a redox titrationinterrogative adjectives worksheetshow can you tell the difference between brass and copperthe three little pigs moral of the storywhat is the difference between latino and mexicanwhat is the difference between motive and intentwhat are affixes examplesassimilation definition sociologyshades of fuschiaaffected or effected ukrestricted meaning in urduthemes and motifs in romeo and julietdistinguish test between aldehydes and ketonesmla and apa differencescompared to an ordinary chemical reaction a fission reaction willexplain marginal analysisshifting of capital from calcutta to delhitragedy vs comedystromboli vs calzone differencedefine monomers and polymersschizophrenia versus schizoaffective disorderdifference between stevia and truviaallyl carbocationdifference between phagocytosis and endocytosisverse vs proseexamples of indefinite pronounwhats a gerundthe good samaritan lessonwrought cast ironsarcasm vs ironywhat is unpolarised lightharbour meaning in hindiis bicarbonate of soda the same as baking sodaexamples of a homonymdefine annunciatealternate rhyme schemewhat is the moral of goldilocks and the three bearsclassical operant conditioningtonnes vs tonsthe difference between bullying and teasingpurpose of preparing trial balanceguar gum vs xanthan gumwhat is the difference between a prince and a dukewhat is the difference between duck and gooseexamples of initialismsrelation between tensile strength and shear strengthatypical and typical antipsychoticsdefinition of metaphysical conceitsyllables in poemrods and cocci bacteriaformula cyclohexaneparallelism literature definitiona comedy of mannersaddendum appendixwhat is the difference between soluble and insolublewhat is difference between maize and cornwhat is the difference between a convex and concave lensconscious mind and subconscious minddefinition of catabolism and anabolismpure substance definition in chemistryhow are cilia and flagella differentwhat is the difference between a folktale and a fable