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Alpaca Hair

Alpaca Hair Cuticle

This is a cast of the cuticle of alpaca fiber from a ball of yarn sold as "Baby Alpaca". The rippled edge of the cuticle scales in a fiber of this diameter would indicate a more Suri breed origin.

Transmitted Oblique Illumination


There are two basic types of alpaca wool, Huacayo and Suri. They are differentiated by subtile differences in the cuticle pattern as well as differences in the cross-section. "Baby Alpaca" is a finer form of the wool and tends to have a "wool fineness" of 70s, an average diameter of about 20 micrometers.

Significance in the Environment:

Characteristic Features:

Alpaca hair has a refractive index along its length of about 1.56 and perpendicular to its length of about 1.55. It has a birefringence of about 0.01 and a positive sign of elongation.

Associated Particles:


References with Photographs and/or Drawings

von Bergen, Werner (ed.), WOOL HANDBOOK, Interscience Publisher, pp. 397-413, 1963.

Hausman, Leon Augustus, "Structural charactreistics of the hair of mammals", THE AMERICAN NATURALIST, vol. 54, no. 635, pp.496-523,

Hausman, Leon Augustus, "Recent studies of hair structure relationships", THE SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY, pp. 258-277,

Glaister, John, A STUDY OF HAIRS AND WOOLS, Misr Press, Cairo, 1931.

(Click here for FBI site for Animal Hair Identification.)