Llamas are polygynous. Male llamas gather a harem of about 6 females into a designated territorial region and then aggressively drive away all other male llamas of breeding age who come into the area. This behavior is similar to that of Lama guanicoe: young males that are driven out of the breeding harem may congregate in herds until they are old enough to breed, at which time they will seek out existing harems to take over. Older and displaced males will live on their own.
Mating System: polygynous
Llamas are able to interbreed with other members of the genus Lama to produce fertile offspring. Although L. glama does not have an estrus cycle, this species tends to mate in late summer and early fall. After mating, female llamas undergo induced ovulation where the ovum is released about 24 to 36 hours after copulation. Gestation takes about 360 days, and the female llama gives birth to one cria (infant llama) almost every year. Crias are able to run about an hour after being born. Newborn llamas weigh about 10 kg and crias are nursed for four months. Sexual maturity occurs at the age of two years.
Breeding interval: Llamas breed once yearly.
Breeding season: Breeding occurs from November to May.
Range number of offspring: 0 to 1.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Range gestation period: 10 to 12 months.
Range weaning age: 3 to 5 months.
Range time to independence: 4 to 5 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 to 3 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 to 3 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); induced ovulation ; fertilization ; viviparous
Average birth mass: 11000 g.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Female llamas are repsonsible for the bulk of parental care. Female llamas protect and care for the cria until it is about one year old. Male llamas provide some indirect care for the young. They defend a territory to provide access to sufficient grazing resources for the females and younger members of their group. Males drive away 'foreign' llamas who compete for the same resources as his own herd, as well as predators and other males. When the crias are about a year old, the male drives them off.
Parental Investment: no parental involvement; precocial ; male parental care ; female parental care ; pre-fertilization (Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Protecting: Male, Female)
- Kadwell, M., M. Fernandez, H. Stanley, R. Baldi, J. Wheeler, R. Rosadio, M. Bruford. 2001. Genetic analysis reeals the wild ancestors of the llama and alpaca. Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 268/1485: 2575-2584.
- Vaughan, T., J. Ryan, N. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. United States of America: Thomson Learning, Inc..
- Dias de Avila Pires, F. 2004. "Grolier Online" (On-line). Encyclopedia Americana. Accessed February 06, 2004 at http://go.grolier.com/gol.
- Honolulu Zoo, 2004. "Honolulu Zoo" (On-line). Llama. Accessed February 06, 2004 at http://www.honoluluzoo.org/llama.htm.
- Ingram, G., J. Krowka. 1999. "Problematic behavior in llamas and misdirected territorial aggression" (On-line). lost creek llamas. Accessed February 19, 2004 at http://home.att.net/~lostcreekllamas/mta.html.
- Sorin, A. 2002. "Animal Diversity Web" (On-line). Lama guanico (guanaco). Accessed February 19, 2004 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lama_guanicoe.html.
- T., L. 2002. "Llama" (On-line). Accessed February 06, 2004 at http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/llama.htm.
No one has provided updates yet.