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Phenotypic classification of Saudi Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius) by their body measurements


Abstract and Figures

In order to identify homogeneous groups of camels according to their conformation, 212 camels (155 females and 57 males) from 9 regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and belonging to 12 different camel breed or types were measured. The body measurements included the length of the head, of the neck, of the udder and of the teat, the height at the withers, and the circumference of the neck, of the thigh and at girth. The 12 breeds were compared according to their mean body measurements and the groups with similar conformation were identified by Automatic Hierarchical Classification on Ward distance. Finally, 4 types of female camel conformation were identified: small size breed from mountains and Red Sea coast, big size camel from desert areas, and 2 breeds, Zargeh with small size but with wide chest and neck, and Asail (racing camel) with very thin neck and leg and poorly developed udder. Six groups of males are identified also but with a different distribution. This classification is close to the typology based on the ecosystem distribution of camel breeds in Saudi Arabia.
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Emir. J. Food Agric. 2012. 24 (3): 272-280
Phenotypic classification of Saudi Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius)
by their body measurements
H. R. Abdallah1and Bernard Faye1,2*
1Camel and range Research Center, P.O. Box 322, Al-Jouf, Sakaka, Saudi Arabia
2FAO/CIRAD-ES, Campus international de Baillarguet, TA C/dir B 34398 Montpellier, France
In order to identify homogeneous groups of camels according to their conformation, 212 camels (155 females
and 57 males) from 9 regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and belonging to 12 different camel breed or
types were measured. The body measurements included the length of the head, of the neck, of the udder and of
the teat, the height at the withers, and the circumference of the neck, of the thigh and at girth. The 12 breeds
were compared according to their mean body measurements and the groups with similar conformation were
identified by Automatic Hierarchical Classification on Ward distance. Finally, 4 types of female camel
conformation were identified: small size breed from mountains and Red Sea coast, big size camel from desert
areas, and 2 breeds, Zargeh with small size but with wide chest and neck, and Asail (racing camel) with very
thin neck and leg and poorly developed udder. Six groups of males are identified also but with a different
distribution. This classification is close to the typology based on the ecosystem distribution of camel breeds in
Saudi Arabia.
Key words: Body measurements, Camel breed, Classification, Dromedary camel.
The total population of dromedary is estimated
to be around 1.6 million camels within the Arabian
Peninsula, about 53% found in Saudi Arabia
(source: FAO statistics, 2011). However, there is
an important gap between the official number of
camel heads according to FAO statistics (280,000
in 2009) and the national estimation published by
the Ministry of Agriculture in Saudi Arabia
(830,000 heads). Based on this last estimation, the
camel population is 51% of the total tropical
livestock unit (TLU) in the country. The camel
population is increasing since the year 1961,
passing from 80,000 to 280,000 in 2009; i.e.
approximately a growth of 5.2%/year. The
importance of camel in Saudi Arabia is clearly
underlined by these data (Gaili et al., 2000).
However, during the same time the milk and
meat productivity increased but in similar
proportion: 5.4%/year for milk production and
6.4%/year for meat production (Faye and Bonnet,
2012). This increase of milk and meat productivity
in camel was mainly linked to the population
growth. Regarding the higher growth in meat
production, it was rather due to the increase of
slaughtering rate than to the growth of meat
productivity. Indeed, the mean carcass weight was
the same in 2009 compared to 1961 (224 kg) and
the slaughtering rate increased by 6.62%/year. The
dairy productivity did not change also for the last
48 years and the increase of dairy production was
linked to the increase of proportion in dairy animals
passing from 62 to 69%; i.e. a growth by 5.53% per
year (Faye and Bonnet, 2012). Thus, the increase in
available production was mainly mechanical and
due to the population growth.
Elsewhere, the Arabian Peninsula is probably
one of the main area where the dromedary camel
was domesticated 5000 to 6000 years ago
(Uerpman and Uerpman, 2002), and the place
where the camel biodiversity is one of the most
important in the world. Formerly, a dozen of
“breeds” are described (Faye et al., 2011) mainly
based on their coat color.
However, their differences on other parameters
as their general conformation were not clearly
described. There is no clear classification of Saudi
Arabia camel populations with ecological,
morphological and utilities criteria generally mixed
(Almathen et al., 2012). Yet, it would be an
Received 03 December 2011; Revised 24 February 2012
Accepted 27 February 2012
*Corresponding Author
Bernard Faye
FAO/CIRAD-ES, Campus international de Baillarguet, TA
C/dir B 34398 Montpellier, France
H. R. Abdallah and Bernard Faye
important step to propose control of performances
for further potential selection programs in order to
contribute for the improvement of camel
productivity. Thus, the present study aims to
classify the described camel breed of Saudi Arabia
on the base of their body measurements only in
order to identify some groups with similar
Materials and Methods
The survey
As the whole, 152 camel owners were visited.
They lived in 9 regions of the kingdom (Al-jouf,, Tabuk, Tabarjal, Riyadh, Qassim, Hail,
Jazan, Al-Bahah). They were selected on the basis
of the variability in the breed composition of their
camel farms. In each farm, a questionnaire was
applied and body measurements were achieved: all
female and male camels had between 5 and 10
years old (adults having finished their growth), and
they were regarded by their owner as the more
characteristic specimens for a given breed. By this
participative approach, the total size of the sample
could be limited. Finally, the data involving 212
camels (155 female and 57 males) belonging to 12
different camel breeds (or types) were collected. As
the description of these different camels are not yet
clear, the terms “breed” or “types” will be used
The measurements
The measurements were achieved on standing
animals with a meter-ribbon and reported in cm.
The following distances were collected: (i) the
length of the head from nose to occipital (LH), (ii)
the length of the neck (lower part) from base of
head to the chest (LN), (iii) the circumference of
the neck at the middle of the neck (CN), (iv) the
height at the withers (HW), (v) the girth
circumference in front of the hump (GC) and the
thigh circumference at the middle of the thigh (TC),
then in females (vi) the length of the left front teat
(LT) and finally (vii) the length of the udder from
the front to hind attach (LU).
The statistical analysis
The statistical analysis included three steps:
(i) Each breed was described by the mean
S.D) of the different reported measurements and
their within variability. To compare the different
breeds, a variance analysis was applied in order to
identify the significant differences for each
measurement between breeds.
(ii) The correlations between the different
measurements were assessed by calculating the
correlation coefficient of Pearson for a given sex.
(iii) In a third step, a table including the 12
identified breeds (in row) and the different mean
values of body measurements (in column –see table
1) was analyzed by automatic clustering. The
principle of the method of automatic classification
(or clustering) was based on the identification of
homogeneous groups of individuals (clusters) in the
population (here, camel breed). Two camel breeds
belonging to the same group were somehow close to
each other (similar means of body measurements).
At reverse, two camel breeds belonging to different
groups are somehow far from each other (they have
significant different body measurements). The
classification consists to build a partition of the
population into homogenous clusters (having low
within variability), different one from other (having
high between variability). Each retained cluster,
identified by the convenient cutting of a dendrogram
(graphic expressing the dissimilarity between
clusters or classes) would represent a “type” or a
“cluster”. The convenience of the cutting was
estimated when the gain in between-cluster variance
is not significant. The retained clustering is
expressed by the total between-cluster variance
explained by the model. The interpretation of the
types was achieved by analyzing the contribution of
the different variables to the class. Only variables
with significant contribution (assessed by Chi square
test) at P >0.05 were retained for the final
interpretation (Jain et al., 1999).
The statistical analyses were applied separately
on females and males and the software XLSTAT
(Addinsoft ©) was used.
Succinct individual description of the camel
breeds (Plate 1)
Hadhana breed is a yellowish to red coat color
camel with a fine head, flat forehead, thin neck,
narrow feet and medium size legs. He has a round
and symmetric hump and no long hair on its body.
It is mainly encountered in the hills around Al-Baha
town in a limited area.
Awadi breed is a camel from southern part of
the Kingdom with red to white coat color. A small
head with a slight forehead, short and thin neck,
small udder, pilosity in ears, head and neck, narrow
feet and round hump are the main characteristics of
the breed.
Emir. J. Food Agric. 2012. 24 (3): 272-280
Plate 1. Camel breeds phenotypes photos from Saudi Arabia. (1) Majaheem (2) Waddah (3) Homor (4) Sofor (5) Shaele
(6) Aouadi (7) Saheli (8) Awrk (9) Hadhana (10) Asail (11) Zargeh (12) Shageh.
Asail is a racing camel characterized by a fine
head with flat forehead, pointed ears, very narrow
feet and long legs, round hump in the hind of the
back, small but balanced udder with very small
teats. Its yellow to brown coat color has short hairs.
Awrk (Awarik) camel has a clear coat color,
almost white, with short hair. It differs from Saheli
breed by a more developed udder, medium neck
circumference, pointed ears and its hump rather at
the hind of the back. It is widely distributed in
Jazan region. Its milk production is moderate.
Homor (or Hamrah) camel is a medium size
dairy breed with a characteristic clear brown coat
color. Its forehead is slightly marked in male and
the ears are pointed with low pilosity. It is
distributed in small number all over the country, but
more common in the northern part.
Majaheem (also named Malah) is a
characteristic black coat camel originated from
north-east part of the country. A pointed hump,
placed in the middle of the back, long hair covering
all the body, long legs, wide feet, well developed
udder are its main characteristics. It is one of the
best dairy producers of the Kingdom.
Saheli, a typical camel living all along the Red
Sea coast, has a characteristic red coat color, a
small head with a pronounced forehead (even in
(1) (2) (3)
(4) (5) (6)
(7) (8) (9)
(10) (11) (12)
H. R. Abdallah and Bernard Faye
female), a small and thin neck, a small udder, round
ears without hairs, narrow feet and round hump.
Shaele breed is a medium size camel and has a
grey coat color going sometimes to brown-red
especially in male, pointed ears, narrow feet, short
legs and well symmetric hump. It is a common type
in South-eastern part of the Kingdom.
Shageh is a small-head camel with short and
thick neck, narrow chest but developed udder. It is
close to Zargeh breed but its coat is greyer. It is
more common in the southern part of the Kingdom.
Sofor (or Safrah) has a dark brown coat color
with medium size, long head and neck, well
developed udder, wide chest and long legs. The
ears are pointed and the feet are large. Its body is
widely covered with long hair. It is distributed in
same area than Homor camel. It well resists to the
climatic constraints of the desert.
Waddah (or Maghatir) has a white coat color,
sometimes almost yellow. The characteristics are
pointed ears with low pilosity, long legs and well
developed hump. The male have a developed
forehead and long penis case.
Zargeh, a southern camel, has a blue-grey coat
color with long hair on the head, the neck, the
shoulder and the hump. It has small head with short
neck and flat forehead, pointed ears, small udder,
unbalanced teats, a wide chest on short legs. The
hump could be pointed and placed in hind part of
the back. Sometimes, the coat color on shoulder
and on the back is darker.
The mean values for females (Table 1)
The ranges for the individual measurements
were 31-60 cm for the length of the head, 75-114
cm for the length of the neck, 57-111 cm for the
neck circumference, 158-272 cm of the height, 102-
274 cm for the girth circumference, and 60-110 cm
for the thigh circumference. The udder length range
was 10 to 50 cm and the teat length was 1 to 26 cm.
Table 1. Mean body measurements of 12 types or breeds of female camel in Saudi Arabia (in cm). a,b,c,d Means within
column with different superscript differ (P < 0.05).
Breed Lhead Lneck cNeck Lteat Ludder Height GirthC ThighC
Hadhana 42.1b87.8d74.8d4.2 b17.0 b173.0 c180.5 a.b 73.3 c
Aouadi 42.4b97.6c.d 79.3b.c.d 4.7b15.7b.c 174.3 c191.3 a.b 83.6 b
Asail 42.3b94.3c.d 86.3a.b 2.0 b6.3 c185.8 c199.3 a.b 78.3 b.c
Awrc 41.5b92.0c.d 88.8a.b 4.6 b18.5 a.b 199.3 a201.0 a.b 88.8 a.b
Homor 46.5a107.1a.b 83.9a.b 4.7b25.6 a186.7 c217.3 a93.1 a
Majaheem 46.9a110.7a89.4a6.8a25.0 a192.2 a.b 219.2 a94.9 a
Saheli 42.8b96.2c.d 86.4a.b 5.1 a.b 16.7 b176.0 c195.9 a.b 84.3 b
Shaele 46.9a104.5a.b 83.0a.b.c 4.1b24.8a187.0b.c 213.5 a86.9 b
Shageh 39.3b92.3c.d 92.0a5.2 a.b 17.0 b182.7 c180.7 a.b 90.3 a.b
Sofor 48.1a98.7b.c 81.0a.b.c 4.3 b22.7a.b 185.3 c220.9 a85.3b
Waddah 47.4a108.6a79.0c.d 4.8b25.4 a186.7 c221.8 a93.0 a
Zargah 40.5b87.0d91.0a4.5 b22.0 a.b 185.0 c222.0 a86.5 b
The length of the head was significantly higher
in Homor, Majaheem, Shaele, Sofor and Waddah
breed. The length of the neck was higher in
Majahee, Homor and Waddah and the lower
significant values were observed on Hadhana and
Zargeh breed. Majaheem, Shageh and Zargah had a
significant higher neck circumference than Hadhana,
Awadi and Waddah. The higher breeds were
Majaheem and Awrk. The shorter were Hadhana,
Awadi and Saheli. Regarding girth circumference,
there was a high significant difference between
Zargah, Waddah, Sofor, Majaheem and Homor in
one hand, and Hadhana in another hand. Waddah,
Majaheem and Homor had a high thigh
circumference reverse to Hadhana and Asail. The
length of the udder was quite more important for the
breeds Shaele, Waddah, Majaheem and Homor and
quite smaller in Asail. The length of the teat was
quite higher in Majaheem attesting its dairy
vocation. Asail had also very short teat.
The mean values for males (Table 2)
For the different body measurements, the
values range were 41-59 cm (LH), 85-152 cm (LN),
55-119 cm (CN), 113-226 cm (HW), 134-249 cm
(HG) and 73-123 cm (TC) showing a higher
homogeneity than for females.
In male, there was no significant difference
between breeds for the head length. The neck was
significantly longer in Majaheem, Homor, Wadda
and Shageh, reverse to Asail and Hadhana
characterized by a shorter neck. The highest neck
Emir. J. Food Agric. 2012. 24 (3): 272-280
circumferences were observed on Majaheem,
Wadda, Saheli and Shageh while no significant
difference was observed for height.
The girth circumference was also higher in
Majaheem, Waddah, Homor and Sofor, but Shageh
and Saheli were in the same group. The lowest
measurement was reported on Awadi. The thigh
circumference was highest in the same breeds than
female, but also in Shageh. Asail breed has the
finest thigh.
Table 2. Mean body measurements of 10 types or breeds of male camel in Saudi Arabia (in cm). a,b,c,d Means within
column with different superscript differ (P < 0.05).
Breed Lhead Lneck Cneck Height GirthC ThighC
Hadhana 49.5a96.5 b73.0c183.0 a209.0a.b 95.5a.b
Aouadi 46.0a107.0 a.b 83.0b.c 178.0 a176.0 b100.0 a.b
Asail 46.0a98.8 b82.0c184.8 a199.6a.b 84.8b
Homor 49.3a114.6 a96.7a.b 198.6 a228.0a103.6a
Majaheem 51.5a119.7a100.8a203.3a230.8a106.7 a
Saheli 45.0a103.0 a.b 115.0a179.0a220.0a91.0b
Shaele 48.8a117.2 b88.6b.c 193.2 a200.7 a.b 94.4 b
Shageh 54.0a133.0 a119.0a193.0a235.0a104.0 a
Sofor 51.5a104.5 a.b 93.5a.b 191.5 a219.0a98.0a.b
Waddah 51.4a122.8 a97.9a190.2 a226.0a104.1a
Sexual differences
On average, the male measurements were
higher in male for all the parameters. The male
head was 11% longer, the neck 12% longer, the
neck circumference 13% higher, the thigh
circumference 14%. The difference in height (4%)
and girth circumference (6%) was less marked.
The sexual difference was more important in
Shageh breed: considering all the parameters, the
body measurements of the Shageh male was 27%
higher than female. This difference was 13% for
Hadhana, 11% for Saheli, 10% for Waddah, 9% for
Majaheem, 8% for Homor and Sofor, 6% for
Aouadi, 5% for Shaele and 3% only for Asail.
Correlations between measurements
The correlation matrix was achieved for each
group of camel (male or female) showing globally
significant correlations between most of the
quantitative parameters. There were no significant
negative correlations. Among the parameters, in both
sex, the thigh circumference appeared correlated to
all the others parameters (Tables 3 and 4).
Table 3. Correlation matrix between the quantitative measurements of the female camel in Saudi Arabia. Significant
coefficients at P <0.05 were in bold.
parameter L head L neck Neck C L teat L udder Height W Girth C Thigh C
L head 1 0.540 -0.034 0.132 0.489 0.260 0.238 0.311
L neck 0.540 1 0.104 0.172 0.389 0.303 0.345 0.353
Neck C -0.034 0.104 1 0.163 -0.132 0.348 0.088 0.233
L teat 0.132 0.172 0.163 1 0.294 0.119 0.111 0.201
L udder 0.489 0.389 -0.132 0.294 1 0.116 0.360 0.267
Height W 0.260 0.303 0.348 0.119 0.116 1 0.289 0.366
Girth C 0.238 0.345 0.088 0.111 0.360 0.289 1 0.410
Thigh C 0.311 0.353 0.233 0.201 0.267 0.366 0.410 1
H. R. Abdallah and Bernard Faye
Table 4. Correlation matrix between the quantitative measurements of the male camel in Saudi Arabia. Significant
coefficients at P <0.05 were in bold.
Variables L head L neck Neck C Height W Girth C Tigh C
L head 1 0.537 0.310 0.190 0.286 0.439
L neck 0.537 1 0.388 0.244 0.331 0.434
Neck C 0.310 0.388 1 0.249 0.574 0.621
Height W 0.190 0.244 0.249 1 0.294 0.303
Girth C 0.286 0.331 0.574 0.294 1 0.568
Tigh C 0.439 0.434 0.621 0.303 0.568 1
Classification of the females
The clustering of the female camel breeds was
optimal with a partition within 4 groups of breeds
which explained 59.6 % of the variance. A first
group (type A) included Hadhana, Aouadi, Saheli,
Shageh and Awrk breed. They were characterized
by short dimensions and medium size udder (Figure
1 and Table 5). A second (type D) gathered Homor,
Majaheem, Shaele, Sofor and Waddah. This group
had significantly higher measurements (LH, LN,
HW, GC, TC) and well developed udder. Zargah
and Asail appeared different and separated from the
2 other groups. Zargah (type B) was medium but
with high girth circumference. Asail (type C) was
also medium but with low development of the
udder and narrow chest.
Table 5. Mean body measurements of the 4 clusters of female camel breed in Saudi Arabia (in cm). a,b;c Means within
column with different superscript differ (P < 0.05).
Cluster Lhead Lneck cNeck Lteat Ludder HeightW GirthC ThighC
A 42.1 b93.3b82.5a4.7 b,c 16.8b177.5b190.1b81.9b
B 42.7a,b 93.3 b85.3 a8.3 a29.3 a183.6 a,b 226.6 a81.7 b
C 42.2 b94.2 b86.2 a2.0 c6.2 c185.7 a,b 199.2 a,b 78.2 b
D 47.0a107.8 a84.0 a5.1a,b 24.9 a188.3 a218.7a92.7a
Figure 1. Classification tree of the 12 female camel breeds of Saudi Arabia according to their body measurements
showing a partition within four types of camel breed.
Emir. J. Food Agric. 2012. 24 (3): 272-280
Classification of the males
The optimal classification of male camel breeds
gave a partition in 6 clusters explaining 77% of the
variance (Figure 2). The type A (Asail and Shaele)
had fine neck, thin leg and narrow chest, but was
high. They are rangy camel useful for racing and
riding. The type B (Homor, Majaheem, Sofor and
Waddah) included big size camels. The type C
included only Hadhana characterized by a short and
fine neck and medium other measurements. The
type D (Aouadi) was a small head animal with very
narrow chest. The type E (Shageh) was the biggest
type. The type F (Saheli) had a thick neck and a
thin thigh with a medium chest (Table 6).
Table 6. Mean body measurements of the 6 clusters of male camel breed in Saudi Arabia (in cm). a,b,c Means within
column with different superscript differ (P < 0.05).
Cluster Lhead Lneck Cneck Height GirthC ThighC
A 47.8a110.6a,b 86.2b190.2a200.3b91.0b
B 50.9a119.1a97.8a194.7a226.9a104.0a
C 49.5a96.5b73.0b183.0 a209.0 a,b 95.5a,b
D 46.0a107.0a,b 83.0b178.0a176.0b100.0a,b
E 54.0a133.0a119.0a193.0 a235.0 a104a,b.0
F 45.0a103.0a,b 115.0a179.0 a220.0 a,b 91.0b
Figure 2. Classification tree of the 10 male camel breeds of Saudi Arabia according to their body measurements showing
a partition within six types of camel breed.
The body measurements were currently used
for describing the camel phenotypes. Ishag et al.
(2011) described the phenotypes of Sudanese camel
breeds by measuring the heart girth, the barrel girth,
the height at shoulder and the body weight. In our
study, the barrel girth was not taken in account,
because this measurement is depending of the hump
size which varies according to the body condition
score of the animal (Kamili et al., 2006). Indeed,
the hump is the main fat storage form in camel
representing on average 85% of the adipose tissue
H. R. Abdallah and Bernard Faye
(Faye et al., 2001a). Except for the thigh
circumference, the body measurements were not
significantly correlated to all the other
measurements. The thigh conference seems to be a
good indicator of the camel conformation,
including the udder in female. Besides, the thigh
circumference is commonly used by the butchers
for predicting the weight of the carcass (Faye et al.,
The clustering of the different breeds was
slightly different between male and female. The
sexual difference in the general conformation of
camel conducted naturally to a different distribution
between the breeds. On average, the measurements
were higher in male compared to female, but in
different proportion according the breed.
By regarding, the only clustering of the
females, a close relationship with the classification
of Al-Eknah (unpublished results) based on the
ecosystem (desert, hill, coast) or the use (riding,
racing or production) was observed. Three main
groups of camel could be described: (i) the big size
camels from desert areas with good dairy potential
(Homor, Majaheem, Waddah, Shaele, Sofor); (ii)
the small size camels from hill or beach having
multipurpose vocation (Aouadi, Awrk, Saheli,
Hadhana); (iii) the medium size rangy camel breed
for riding and racing (Asail, Zargeh, Shageh).
This classification is corresponding partially to
the typology of Blanc and Hennesser (1989) which
distinguish (i) the big size camel living in desert
plain, (ii) the medium size camel used for riding,
and (iii) the small size camel living in mountainous
In Saudi Arabia, these phenotypes are linked
partly to different farming system (Abbas et al.,
2000; Al-Khamis and Young, 2006): (i) the big size
camels are mainly used for dairy production,
adapted to desert areas but able to undergo
intensification process with settlement around the
towns, (ii) the small size camels from coastal or hill
environment are mainly associated to small scale
camel farm in more favorable climatic environment
characterized by a diversification of the livestock
rearing activities and the use of camel as
multipurpose animals, (iii) the medium size camels
are linked to racing stables where the animals
received enriched diet and undergo special exercise
for competitions. For racing camels however,
genetic exchanges with neighboring countries could
lead to specific classification (Shorepy, 2011).
The described phenotypes are also mainly
linked to geographical distribution as it has been
observed in other countries (Ould Ahmed et al.,
The big size camels are more common in the
northern and eastern part of the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia, and the small size camel in the south-
western part. The medium size camel having a
riding and racing vocation, they are more widely
distributed in the country. The preliminary results
of camel genotyping in Saudi Arabia produce
similar conclusions showing a geographical
classification distinguishing the camel in the
northern part from the camel breeds in the East,
themselves different from the camel breed living in
the western mountainous part of the Kingdom
(Mahrous et al., 2011). These results were recently
confirmed (Almathen et al., 2012) revealing three
genetically separated groups of dromedary in Saudi
Arabia with distinct, although likely overlapping,
geographic distribution in the Southern west region
(Awrk, Awadi, Hadhana and Saheli), East region
(Majaheem and Shaele) and Northern part
(Waddah, Sofor, and Homor) of the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia respectively. The results also
highlighted that the Awrk and Awadi camel
populations were genetically distinct from the other
camel populations.
The fine phenotype description could be a first
step for establishing a classification of the different
breeds or types, and for valorizing the camel
biodiversity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Elsewhere, the current changes in the camel
farming systems (settlement, intensification, in-
door feeding systems, implementation around the
towns, etc.,) would increase the demand for more
productive and specialized animals. For this reason,
a clear description of the potential is an important
step for the future improvement of the camel
breeds. The present phenotype study limited to the
body measurements would be an opportunity to
underline the richness of this emblematic animal for
all the Saudi people whatever their social rank or
the place where they are living.
This study has been achieved within FAO
project UTF/SAU/021/SAU with the support of
Camel and range research Center (CRRC). The
authors thank Mr Sallal Issa Al-Mutairi, head of the
CRRC for his encouragements and support. We
thank also all the camel owners and shepherds who
help us to manage their animals and gave us their
agreement for measuring them. This work was done
with the powerful help of all staff of Ministry of
Agriculture in different regions of the Kingdom.
Thanks also to FAO regional officer, Dr
Mohammed Bengoumi who supported this project
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... Dromedaries or one-humped camels (Camelus dromedarius) are a typical element in the scene of developing economies and constitute the vast majority of the world's camel census. Due to the economical context in which they are normally evaluated and the lack of attention paid to them in the past [21], the scarce initiatives towards morphometrics phenotypic variability collection have mainly been implemented via on-field sampling [1,[22][23][24][25]. However, these practices are not free from challenges. ...
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This study evaluates a method to accurately, repeatably, and reliably extract camel zoo-metric data (linear and tridimensional) from 2D digital images. Thirty zoometric measures, including linear and tridimensional (perimeters and girths) variables, were collected on-field with a non-elastic measuring tape. A scaled reference was used to extract measurement from images. For girths and perimeters, semimajor and semiminor axes were mathematically estimated with the function of the perimeter of an ellipse. On-field measurements' direct translation was determined when Cronbach's alpha (Cα) > 0.600 was met (first round). If not, Bayesian regression corrections were applied using live body weight and the particular digital zoometric measurement as regressors (ex-cept for foot perimeter) (second round). Last, if a certain zoometric trait still did not meet such a criterion, its natural logarithm was added (third round). Acceptable method translation consistency was reached for all the measurements after three correction rounds (Cα = 0.654 to 0.997, p < 0.0001). Afterwards, Bayesian regression corrected equations were issued. This research helps to evaluate individual conformation in a reliable contactless manner through the extraction of linear and tridi-mensional measures from images in dromedary camels. This is the first study to develop and correct the routinely ignored evaluation of tridimensional zoometrics from digital images in animals.
... Based on the above, its morphological features of muscularity may influence the economic value of the animal. Nevertheless, despite the fact that differences in muscularity were observed among distinct populations [18] and/or individuals [19], to our knowledge no evident hyper-muscular phenotype has so far been described in dromedaries. ...
Citation: Bruno, S.; Landi, V.; Senczuk, G.; Brooks, S.A.; Almathen, F.; Faye, B.; Gaouar, S.S.B.; Piro, M.; Kim, K.S.; David, X.; et al. Refining the Camelus dromedarius Myostatin Gene Polymorphism through Worldwide Whole-Genome Sequencing.
... Based on the above, its morphological features of muscularity may influence the economic value of the animal. Nevertheless, despite the fact that differences in muscularity were observed among distinct populations [18] and/or individuals [19], to our knowledge no evident hyper-muscular phenotype has so far been described in dromedaries. ...
... There are about 30 million dromedary camels in the world, with the highest number in Africa and the Middle East [106]. Particularly, in Arab world countries, the dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius, one-humped camel) is a multipurpose animal and an important livestock species adapted to hot and dry environments [107], formerly used strictly for transport [108], but nowadays also production animal for milk, meat, and hides [109]. The consumption of camel milk is ten times more than that of its meat, and it is expected that milk production will double in the near future [110]. ...
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The prevalence of methicillin resistance in staphylococci has been increasing globally and is currently one of the major public health concerns. In particular, treating infections caused by staphylococci with acquired antimicrobial resistance is problematic, as their treatment is more difficult. The resistance is found both in human and animal staphylococcal strains. Methicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRS) have also been increasingly reported in wildlife. In Arab countries, MRS has been detected in food producing animals and food products; however, the risk this poses is somewhat unclear, and still a significant lack of information on the trend and distribution of these pathogens in these countries, which have a specific ecosystem (desert) and traditions (Muslim culture). In this manuscript, we aim to provide an overview of the prevalence and the major MRS clonal lineages circulating in these specific countries and compare to them other situations with different ecosystems and cultures.
... Positive correlations were widely observed between the different measurements. That is a common feature due to the allometric development of body in all species including camel as it was observed in many studies aiming to identify different camel phenotypes based on body measurements (Kamili et al, 2006;Chniter et al, 2009;Abdallah and Faye, 2012;Oulad-Belkhir et al, 2013, Legesse et al, 2018Diop et al, 2020). ...
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In this study, gestation length (GL), birth weight (BW) and body measurements (BM) of Bactrian x Dromedary F1 calves called Tülü born between 2017 and 2020 in Aydın, Turkey were recorded. Fifteen GL records and 25 heads Tülü calves’ BW and BM were used. The aim was to establish the relationship between BW and BM in order to predict BW from BM. Farm and sex of calf had statistically significant effects (P<0.05) on GL, but the effect of calving number on GL was insignificant (P>0.05). GL of Tülü calves were changed between 366 days and 401 days and the mean was found to be 385.27±3.17 days. GL for males (388.7±3.13 days) was 12.6 days longer than those of the female calves (376.1±4.57 days; P<0.05). BW of Tülü calves ranged between 26 and 51 kg with an overall mean of 35.99±1.25 kg. The effects of farm, sire, birth year, calving number and calf sex on BW were found statistically insignificant (P>0.05). However, farm and calving number effects on some BM traits were found statistically significant (P<0.05). Male calves were 0.84 kg heavier than their female counterparts (P>0.05). It was concluded that male Tülü calves have longer gestation length and like other livestock animal, in this study it was found that hearth girth (HG) could be used to estimate BW of Tülü calves (R2=61.16). The higher correlation coefficient found between BW and HG (r=0.782) also supports this idea.
... The morphology of udders and teats are highly heritable [43]. Abdullah et al. (2012) reported a high variation in the length of udders and teats in Saudi Arabia dromedaries [44]. Therefore, camel producers can consider the characteristics and morphology of udders and teats in selecting superior animals [33]. ...
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In the case of camels, there is little data in the literature on the relationship between body building features and the evaluation of milk yield. In the last decade, a rising interest in camel milk has been observed due to its nutritional and health-promoting properties, resulting in a growing market demand. Despite the remarkable importance of camels, very little improvement in camel breeding and selection for dairy purposes has been achieved. The current study aimed to provide a practical approach to the evaluation of dairy dromedaries based on test day milk and morphometric records. A total of 62 Sindi dairy camels were evaluated and 4176 daily milk records were registered in February, March, April, and May 2021. She-camels were milked twice per day (at morning and evening) by hand before calf sucking. The farming system was intensive with two times feeding. Three measurements had the highest scores in assessing: udder, teats distance and placement, and teats size, which included 45 out of 100 scores. Test day milk records were analysed using a simple repeatability model with two random effects. The range of daily milk yields was estimated between 0.1 to 8.70 kg. The mean of body scores was 77.19 (CI = 74.19–80.19). Daily milk yields moderately correlated with body score (r = +0.27). Additionally, udder circumference and abdomen girth were correlated to milk production. Using test day milk records in breeding programs can be appropriate for the selection and replacement of she-camels, but due to difficulties in accessing these data, using morphometric data is a good criterion for the evaluation of dromedaries in extensive systems.
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With global warming, an established reality, the world’s deserts are advancing. Only the camelids, whose member is also the Dromedary Camelus dromedarius, has good prospects of survival as a suitable livestock for projects of sustainable agriculture and animal production under these harsh conditions. In times of ecological crisis the Dromedaries is suitable for farming in dry land areas. However the reproductive nature of this camel presents a challenge. Dromedary camel is known for their unique sexual behavior during the rutting season. While classify to ruminants, presents both significant differences and some similarities in reproductive characteristics with these. They also have natural constraints in the area of reproduction, such as the long period of arrival at puberty for males and females, their restricted breeding season, difficulties in induced ovulation, long gestation periods and inter-calving intervals, and the high incidence of early embryonic death. Developing our understanding of ovarian function and semen nature, and the application of assisted reproductive technologies, will enable enhancements in reproduction and genetic improvement in camels. In recent years ongoing research for camels has examined ways of overcoming these constrains and increasing the productivity technologies and describing future prospects. Among these methods are artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer, sexing, gamete and embryo micromanipulation, genome resource banking, and cloning.
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La méditerranée est l’une des régions les plus vulnérables au changement climatique (hot-spot). La plupart des modèles climatiques prévoient, dans cette région, une augmentation de la température et une diminution des précipitations. Ces changements affecteront plusieurs propriétés de la végétation, en particulier le cycle phénologique. Dans ce contexte, la présente étude vise à étudier la dynamique de la végétation naturelle dans la forêt de Sidi Zid (Zaghouan) en utilisant les techniques de la phénologie de surface terrestre ou « Land Surface Phenology (LSP) » à partir des séries temporelles d’image NDVI-MODIS entre 2000-2017. Les résultats ont montré un retard au niveau de début de saison de croissance (SOS) de 7,8 jours et un avancement de la fin de saison (EOS) de 5 jours des différentes espèces forestières étudiées, ce qui a provoqué une diminution moyenne de la longueur de la saison végétative (LOS) de 12,8 jours. Les résultats obtenus ont montré que le NDVI et le LSP révèlent une bonne corrélation avec le climat, surtout avec la précipitation d'automne et de printemps (Pr_9; Pr_3 et P3_4), la température maximale (Tx9 + 10), et l'indice de sécheresse SPEI. L'utilisation de LSP et du NDVI permet une bonne suit de la dynamique de la végétation en fonction des variations climatiques.
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Johne’s disease is a chronic infectious granulomatous enteritis caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) and mainly infect wild and domestic animals. Although MAP infection has been reported worldwide, observational studies on MAP in camels are very scarce. The objective of the present investigation was to determine the herd- and camel-level seroprevalences and management factors associated with MAP seroprevalence in dromedary camels in the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. A cross-sectional study with two-stage random sampling was conducted. Serum samples from 391 camels in 67 herds were collected and tested for the presence of MAP antibodies using a commercial indirect ELISA test. The average MAP herd- and camel-level seroprevalences were 40.3% (95% CI: 29.10 – 52.60%) and 16.1% (95% CI: 12.78 – 20.11%), respectively. The herd-level factors showed a greater risk of MAP seropositivity in medium (36 – 75) and larger (>75) size herds compared with small (<36) herds. Furthermore, the risk of MAP seropositivity decreased in herds with calving pens compared to herds without calving pens. The camel-level factors indicated a decrease in seroprevalence of MAP with the age of camels. The present study revealed a high prevalence of MAP in dromedary camels in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. The herd-level risk factors for MAP seroprevalence identified in this study will provide the baseline data for developing and implementing a comprehensive control program for MAP in Saudi Arabia.
Ticks are important vectors of an array of viral, bacterial, and protozoan pathogens resulting in a wide range of animal and human diseases in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In this study, ticks were collected from camels, cows, sheep, and goats in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The objectives of the study were to (1) identify tick species of livestock through taxonomic keys and using molecular markers, and determine their prevalence and distribution in the UAE, (2) assess Hyalomma dromedarii seasonal population fluctuation over a year under common camel breeding and management practices, (3) determine bacterial communities’ composition and diversity in camel tick, H. dromedarii using Next-Generation Sequencing, and (4) detect tick-borne microbes and their prevalence in Hyalomma ticks collected from livestock. In the UAE, information on the ticks on camels and other livestock is limited, which is essential for designing and instigating effective tick control strategies in the country. In this study, four aspects of ticks and tick-borne diseases of livestock have been investigated in the UAE. First, four tick species, H. dromedarii, Hyalomma anatolicum, Amblyomma lepidum, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus were identified from livestock including camel, cow, sheep, and goat. These tick species were morphologically identified by using taxonomic keys and confirmed through molecular characterization. This study provided the first DNA molecular record of H. anatolicum, A. lepidum, and R. sanguineus from the UAE. Second, population fluctuation of H. dromedarii was evaluated over one year. Ticks were collected monthly from camels in Al-Ain, UAE, over 12 months (March 2019 to February 2020). Further, H. dromedarii sex ratio was calculated and parasitological indicators were measured. Results showed that the infestation prevalence was very high (94.33%) during the whole study period. The maximum infestation intensity occurred in June, while the minimum occurred in November. Overall, H. dromedarii ticks were found on camels during the entire year despite monthly applications of an acaricide. Third, the composition and diversity of bacterial communities associated with H. dromedarii collected from camels in Al-Ain, UAE, were determined. A total of 100 partially engorged female ticks were taken from tick samples and subjected to DNA extraction and Next-Generation Sequencing. The 16S rRNA gene was amplified from genomic DNA and sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq platform to reveal the bacterial communities. Principal Coordinates Analysis (PCoA) was conducted to determine patterns of diversity in bacterial communities. Twenty-five bacterial families with high relative abundance were identified. Francisellaceae and Enterobacteriaceae coexisted in H. dromedarii. The dominant bacterial genus was Francisella. Fourth, the presence and prevalence of tick-borne Francisella sp., Rickettsia sp., and piroplasmids were determined in Hyalomma ticks infesting livestock. A total of 562 tick samples were collected from camels, cows, sheep, and goats from 24 locations. DNA was extracted from ticks and Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCRs) were performed. Hyalomma dromedarii ticks collected from camels were infected with Francisella-Like Endosymbionts (FLE) (5.81%) and Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae (1.36%). Hyalomma anatolicum ticks collected from cows were found positive with Theileria annulata (4.55%) whereas H. anatolicum ticks collected from goats were positive with Theileria ovis (10%). Theileria ovis was detected for the first time in the UAE. Therefore, further investigations on tick species and tick-borne microbes are required to understand ticks’ biology, ecology, and microbes’ interaction and their role in tick-borne diseases epidemiology in the UAE.
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The present study aimed to assess the live weight, carcass weight and the importance of fat storage in camel by barymetric measurement before and after slaughtering. A total of 61 camels aged between 6 months and 15 years were measured at the abattoir of Dakhla in south of Morocco. The barymetric measures were achieved before slaughtering. After the death of the animals, the hump volume was estimated by using Archimedes' principle. The hump length and the height were good indicators of the carcass weight (r = 0.73 and r = 0.78, respectively) and of the live weight (r = 0.54 and r = 0.53, respectively). Neck perimeter and thigh perimeter were good predictors of the carcass weight. The live weight and carcass weight could be assessed by the following equations: (i) Carcass weight (kg) = 1.21 × (Hump height (cm) +neck perimeter (cm) - 17.49; (ii) Live weight (kg) = 4.06 × Age (year) + 3.05 × neck perimeter (cm) + 3.38 × thigh perimeter (cm) + 1.38 × hump length (cm) - 191; with 86 and 94% of the explained variance, respectively. Hump volume, length and height of the hump were good indicators of the adiposity of camel (correlations coefficient of 0.80, 0.70 and 0.60, respectively with the total fat storage. The hump represented 80% of the fat stored while the fat around kidney and mesentery represented 15 and 5%, respectively. The multivariate analysis allowed identifying three types of body condition (live measures) and body composition (post-mortem measures).
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The ability of camels to cope with food shortage is the result of a long evolutionary process in natural conditions where food ability seasonally fluctuates. In arid conditions, all the adaptive mechanisms and especially body fat mobilisation strategies are of considerable importance in determining reproductive performance. In the camel, the hump is the most important fat storage place accessible to external observation. In a study performed in Morocco on 655 she-camels from different areas, data on body size (circumference and height of the hump, thigh circumference) and on perceptible fat status of different anatomical places (spinous and transverse process of vertebra perceptible or not, hollow of flank present or not, ischial tuberosity and coxal tuberosity proeminent or not, ribs visible or not,...) were collected. Data are treated with cluster analysis in order to identify the types of body conditions. The classes of body conditions can be associated to a specific score. The relationships between this score and fattening ability of the camel have to be deepened with adipocyte measurement. The body scoring appears as a better tool than the hump measuring. Finally, it seems that the body condition score in camel is not mainly linked to the size of the hump.
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Phenotypic descriptions data were obtained from camel ecotypes from different regions in Sudan. The purpose of this study was to characterize and describe some of Sudanese camel breeds according to their morphological traits. The results of this study showed that most ecotypes (Shanbali, Kenani, Maalia, Maganeen, Butana, Kabashi and Lahwee camel) presented similar morphological features vis: grey, brown, yellow color, large, heavily built animals with a developed hump and large to medium size of udder and teats. These ecotypes are classified as pack (heavy) camels. However; although the Rashaidi camel was also classified as a pack camel; exhibited different phenotypic characteristics (dark grey, pinkish red color, light weight and a shorter height at shoulders) compared to former ecotypes. On the other hand; Anafi and Bishari breeds have similar features (white, yellowish color and light weight) and classified as riding and racing camels. The study concluded that the Arabi camel (Shanbali, Kenani, Maalia, Maganeen and Lahwee camel) has better performance and higher milk production and considered as dual purpose camel (meat and milk). Also the study add great value for national and to preserve indigenous breeds, then these information can be useful to design of camel breed conservation program in Sudan. Key words: Camels, Characterization, Description, Sudan
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Genetic diversity and relationships among three camel populations from three different geographic regions (Kebili, Medenine and Tataouine) in the South of Tunisia were estimated using a panel of six microsatellite markers. The total number of observed alleles across the three populations was 28. The mean number of alleles per locus was 3.33, 4, 4.17, and 4.67 for Kebili, Medenine, and Tataouine and across populations, respectively. The mean observed heterozygosity was 0.43, 0.43, 0.53 and 0.46 for Kebili, Medenine, and Tataouine and across populations, respectively. Observed heterozygosity values were lower than their respective expected heterozygosities (0.52, 0.57, 0.62 and 0.60). The mean estimates of F statistics were FIT=0.27, FIS=0.19 and FST=0.09. These values were significantly different from zero (p
The aim of the present study was to investigate environmental factors affecting the racing performance of race camels in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The traits evaluated were racing time and race speed. The data used in this study were obtained from UAE Camel Race Association. One hundred ninety races of varying distances with 50 camels per race were video recorded for which the first ten winners were determined. The analyses were conducted using three statistical linear models. Age, sex, breed, sex by breed and distance effects were included in the linear models. In each race, three groups were considered; fastest ten, fastest three and the fastest. Average speed of race camels in UAE was 10.6 m/s (SD=0.26; range: 9.20-11.79 m/s), with coefficient of variation of 1.99 percent. Camels with 3 years of age were significantly (P < 0.05) faster than the other age groups for fastest three. Except for camels with 5 years of age, females were significantly (P <0.05) superior to males for the fastest ten. Both race speed and racing time were not affecting by the breed for fastest three and the fastest. The sex by breed interaction had no significant effects on both race speed and racing times.
ABSTRACT The first bone finds of domestic ,camels appear among the faunal remains of the Iron Age II layers ofTell Abraq (Emirates of Sharjah and Umm ,al Qaiwain) at about 800 – 900 BC. The earlier camel remains from the Bronze Age layers of the ,same site and from Umm an Nar are from large animals, which are identified as wild dromedaries. At Umm anNar and other coastal sites the wild dromedary was an important game animal in the Early Bronze Age. The sequence of Tell Abraq indicates that this resource was over-exploited, leading to the disappearance of camel ,finds from the faunal re- mains of this site towards the end of the ,Bronze Age. Nevertheless, the wild dromedary still existed inthe,general area during the 2nd phase of the Iron Age. Its remains can be distinguished from those of the smaller domestic camels at the site of Muwaylah (Emirate of Sharjah). South-east Arabia does not seem to be ,the primary centre of camel domestication. Further research in other parts of Arabia is necessary in order ,to identify the area where the camel was first brought under human control.