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Classification of Maghrebi camels (Camelus dromedarius) according to their
tribal affiliation and body traits in southern Tunisia

Mohamed Chniter, Mohamed Hammadi, Touhami Khorchani, Riadh Krit, Abdelkader Benwahada, Mohamed Ben Hamouda.

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Cited by (3)

Five groups of Maghrebi camels have been identified in southern Tunisia according to their tribal affiliation: the Ourdhaoui Médenine in Tawazins tribe, the Ourdhaoui Tataouine in Oudarna tribe, the Guiloufi in Beni Guilouf tribe from Kébili, the Gueoudi at Ouled Gharib tribe from Kébili and the Merzougui in the Marazigues tribe from Kébili. The identification of these groups was achieved by recording nine body measurements (length of the body, length of the neck, thoracic girth, abdominal circumference, height at the hump, height at the withers, width between shoulders, length of the anterior limb and the length of the tool) from a total of 304 female camels (age ≥ 6 years). Positive correlation was observed between the height at the hump and height at the withers, the thoracic girth and the abdominal circumference, the length of the body and the length of the neck. However, the length of the tail showed a negative correlation with the abdominal circumference and the height at the withers. Gueoudi, Guiloufi and Merzougui camel groups had the higher body length and the higher abdominal circumference compared to Ourdhaoui Médenine group of camels. Accordingly, Guiloufi, Merzougui and Ourdhaoui Tataouine camel groups had the higher thoracic girth and the higher height at the withers in comparison with Ourdhaoui Médenine. Ourdhaoui Médenine and Ourdhaoui Tataouine camel groups had the higher tail length compared to Gueoudi, Guiloufi and Merzougui camel groups. The clustering of the five groups allowed describing three main classes of Maghrebi camel including the big, medium and small size Maghrebi camels. According to the coat color, six vernacular names were identified included Chagra, Chaâla, Safra, Hajla, Hamra and Zarga. The quality of the hair was on majority rough and thick, that way the female camel was named Nagga Chalfi. One small proportion was attributed for the females that had sleek and heavy hair which were named Nagga Khawar.

Key words: Maghrebi camels, Tribal affiliation, Body measurements, Hair quality, Southern Tunisia

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