Find your Favorite New World Camelid

This map shows the overlapping habitats of Llamas, Alpacas, Guanacos and Vicuñas in South America. The ring around the images has the colors of the different areas, each species occupies. Due to range overlapping, a single species might have more than one color. Each image is a button that you can select to pick the distribution of a particular species. Hover to get the name of the ecoregion. For more information scroll down.

Vicugna pacos

Vicugna vicugna

Lama glama

Lama guanicoe



Camelids are large herbivorous animals with slender necks and long legs. They don't have hooves but two toed feet. The South American Camelids (SAC) are also known as lamoids or New World Camelids. They are adapted to steep and rocky environments. SAC are divided in four groups: Llamas, Guanacos, Vicuañas and Alpacas. Llamas are the domestic form of Guanacos. Alpacas are the domestic form of Vicuañas. Lamoids are able to interbreed and to produce fertile offspring. The chart above displays the geography of SAC species in South America.

New World or South American Camelids (SAC)
Llama from the AndesLlama or Lama glama, is a gentle animal, but when mishandeled or harmed, it will lie down, hiss, spit, kick, and refuse to move. They are domestic animals not known to exist in the wild state. They appear to have been bred from guanacos, during or before the Inca civilization. Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.
Guanaco from South AmericaGuanaco or Lama guanicoeare slender animals with pale brown backs, white undersides, short tails, large heads, very long necks, and big, pointed ears. They live in groups of up to ten females, their young, and a dominant male adult. Guanacos live on land high in the Andes mountains—up to 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) above sea level, as well as on the lower plateaus, plains, and coastlines of Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Guanacos were once over hunted for their thick, warm wool. Now they thrive in areas protected by law.
domesticated Alpaca with wool fibreAlpaca or Vicugna pacos, live on the high plateau of the Andes, around 4400 metres above sea level.The alpaca is the foremost wool fibre producing animal in the Antiplano region. Source: Alpaca study.
Vicugna from the altiplanoVicuña or Vicugna vicugna, is the smallest member of the family of camelids. Its chest is covered with a silky white mane, but the fur of the rest of its body is soft and of the same length. Due to poaching, the vicuña’s coat and products are smuggled in large amounts to Asia and Europe. Habitat loss due to over-grazing from domestic livestock or human activities, such pollution of water sources and mining, is a threat to their habitat. Climate change may damage the delicate ecosystem where the vicuña lives. A recent potential threat, in the Andes as well as worldwide, is the breeding of a vicuña and alpaca hybrid (a pacovicuña) for commercial purposes. The vicuñas rarity and the difficulties inherent in harvesting the skittish animal's coat have made it the most expensive wool in the world. The Inca valued vicuñas highly for their wool, and it was against the law for anyone but royalty to wear vicuña garments. Source:

Resources and Inspiration

This map was inspired by the two llamas that roamed around my primary school in Bogota. I never knew why our school principal decided to keep them, but I do remember my mother informing me llamas would spit. I made sure I would not bother them or get too close to them. Lately they seem adorable and seem to be everywhere. I just could not avoid the fad, or maybe because they are no drama llamas!

The lamoid habitat range was obtained from The Complete Alpaca Book. The shapefiles with the different ecoregions in Central and South America were obtained fromWWF. The ecoregions are the fainted lines visible on the map and when hovering with the tooltip.The shapefiles with the countries of the world were otained from Natural Earth

For more maps on wildlife check this Sloth Habitat Map and this Tiger Range Map.

Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.

Map of South America and the distribution of New World Camelids species