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Volume 1

Number 1 JCS (1) 1-135 March 2004

The Camel Applied Research and Development Network (CARDN)

Journal of Camel Science 1

and Development Network (CARDN) Journal of Camel Science 1 Published by The Camel Applied Research and

Published by The Camel Applied Research and Development Network (CARDN). The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD) 2440 Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic 963115743039-5743087 Fax 5743063

E. Mail


Table of Contents



Classification of the Dromedary Camels.


F. Wardeh ……………………………………………………………………………


Camel Breeds of India. N.D. Khanna, A.K. Rai and S.N. Tandon …………………………………………………


Studies on Pituitary-Ovarian Axis in the Female Camel with Special Reference to Cystic and Inactive Ovaries. A.A. Hegazy, A.Ali, M. Al-Eknah and S. Ismail ……………………………………………


Physical and Biochemical Attributes of Camel Semen. V.K. Agrawal, L. Ram, A. K. Rai, N. D. Khanna and S. P. Agarwal ……………………


Effect of Different Extenders on Motility Survival and Acrosomal Integrity of Camel Speramatozoa Frozen in Ampouls. X.X. Zhao, Y.M. Huang, Q.C. Nie, Y.K. Zhang and B.X. Chen …………………………… The Nutrient Requirements of the Dromedary Camel.



F. Wardeh ……………………………………………………………………………


Maintenance Energy Requirements and Energy Utilization by Dromedary at Rest.


Guerouali, R.Zine Filali, M.Vermore, and M.F. Wardeh ……………………………


Feed Intake and Digestibility in Camels and Wheat Straw and Meadow Hay.


Cianci, L. Gio, A. M.Hashi, S.Pastoreli, M. Kamoun, G. B. Liponi, and M. Orlandi


Two Transferases and Four Electrolytes in Normal One-Humped Camel Serum.


Sarwar, M.A. Majeed, G. Hur and l.R. Khan …………………………………………


Seasonal Variations in Haematological and Serum Biochemical Parameters in Racing Camels.


Salman and M. Afzal …………………………………………….……………………


Water Balance in the Camel (Camelus dromedarius).


Zine Filali and R. Shaw ………………………………………………………………


Biochemical Adaptation of Camelids During Fasting.


Wensvoort, D.J. Kyle, E.R. 0rskov and D.A. Bourke ……………………………………


Effect of Dietary Zinc Supplementation on Wound Healing in Camels. L. S. Fahmy, E. A. Berbish, H. M. Teleb and A. A. Hegazy ….…………………………… Functional Anatomy of the Renal Pelvis in the One-Humped Camel.



Zguigal and A. Ouhsine ………………………………………………………………


Microstructural Characteristics of Arabian Camel Meat.


Kassem, M. T. El Sayed and A. Ahmed ………………………………………….……


Studies on Mastitis in Female Camels with Special Reference to Brucellosis. A. A. Hegazy, A.El Dughaym, M.Alaknah, F. M.T. Housawi and M.E. Hatem ………


Pathology in Camel Lungs.


Zubair, A. Ahmed, M. Z. Khan and M. A. Sabri ………………………………………


Eye Affections Among Camels in Egypt. (2) Pathological Studies.

A.A. Hegazy, Lotfia. S. Fahmy, M.A. Aiad and A.A. Shamaa ………………………………


Editor in Chief ……………………………………………………………………………



The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD)

ACSAD was established in September 1971 within the framework of the specialized organizations of the League of the Arab States. ACSAD's main objectives include conducting regional research, studies and integrated development programmes in arid zones and dry lands. In addition, emphasis is directed towards training and the exchange of knowledge and experiences. ACSAD has active cooperation with many regional and international organizations and research institutions with similar activities.

The Camel Applied Research and Development Network (CARDN)

CARDN was established in February 1991 with financial support by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, The Islamic Development Bank, ACSAD and member countries. The scope of CARDN includes countries in Asia and Africa where the camel is of economical or of special importance. The main objectives of CARDN are:

1. To assist national research systems to improve and generate (and assist in the adoption of) appropriate technologies in order to ensure sustainable resource use and enable long-term of camel-based production systems;

2. to assist with the identification of problem areas;

3. to promote networking where appropriate and seek financial support for its successful operations;

4. to ensure that results from research are applied where applicable; and

5. to document and disseminate research results.

The Journal of Camel Science

The basic purpose of the Journal of Camel Science is to increase knowledge and understanding of camel and to improve the care and productivity of camels both in commercial production and research. The Journal of Camel Science accepts manuscripts for publication with this purpose in mind. This is a specialized scientific journal on camels. Each paper is refereed by at least three experts in the field.


Dr. Muhammad F. Wardeh Editor in Chief ACSAD, 2440 Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic 963-11-5743039-5743087 Direct 5746892 Fax 5743063 E. Mail http:\


Editors of Volume 1 Number 1

Dr. Muhammad F. Wardeh

Coordinator, CARDN. Director, Department of Studies of Animal Wealth. The Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands. P.O. Box 2440, ACSAD.

Prof. Solieman Salhab

(Reproduction) Faculty of Agriculture, University of Damascus, Syria.

Dr. Moutaz Zarkawi

(Physiology) Head, Division of Animal Production, Atomic Energy Commission, P.O. Box 6091, Damascus, Syria.

Dr. R.T. Wilson

(General) Bartidge House, Umberleigh, North Devon EX 9A, U.K.

Dr. Andre Hjort af Ornas

(Socio-economics) Environmental Policy and Society, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Professor Said Basmail

(Nutrition) Head, Camel Research Unit, King Saoud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Professor Murray Fowler

(Surgery) Department of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 96516, U.S.A.

Professor Lotfia Fahmy

(Surgery) Department of Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cairo, Giza, Egypt.

Professor Ali A. El-Wishy

(Reproductive Physiology) Department of Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cairo, Giza, Egypt.

Professor Babakir E. Musa

(Reproductive Physiology) Diwan of Royal Court, Sultanate of Oman.

Dr. Hadhoum Zguigal

(Anatomy) Department of Anatomy. Institut Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II. B.P. 6206 Rabat, Morocco.

Professor Abdalla Zaied

(Reproductive Physiology) Department of Reproductive Physiology, Omar Mukhtar University, Al-Baydha, Libya.

Dr. Abdel Wahid Jasra

(Range Management) Director, Range Management and Forestry, Natural Resource Division, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Box 1031 G-5/1 Islamabad, Pakistan.

Dr. Khanna N. D.

(Breeding) 9/901 Malviya Nagar Jaipur-30201 7, India.

Dr. Nabil Hassan

(Nutrition) The Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, (ACSAD).

Ms. Fayzeh Al Midani

(Secretary) The Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands. P.O. Box 2440, ACSAD.

Miss Linda Wardeh

(English) Volunteer.

Mr. Mazen Shehabi

(French, English) The Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD).


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Classification of the Dromedary Camels

M. F. Wardeh

The Camel Applied Research and Development Network ACSAD P.O. Box 2440 Damascus, Syria


Camels were classified into two major classes: ride and pack camels. This classification was suitable to satisfy the needs of caravans, transport and army purposes during the first half of the 20th century. A new system of classification is proposed based on the fact that the camel is a major component of the agro-pastoral systems in vast pastoral areas in Asia and Africa. Camels might be classified into four major classes: Meat, Dairy, Dual Purpose and Race camels.

Meat breed types include Jandaweel in Mauritania, Nabul in Tunisia, Kasabat in North-West Libya, Fellahi in Southern Egypt, Delta in the Nile Delta of Egypt, and Arabi in Sudan. Dairy breed types include the Hoor in Somalia, Fakhriya and Sirtawi in Libya, Oulad Sidi AL-Sheikh in Algeria, and Shallageea in Sudan. Dual purpose breed types include Magribi in North Africa, Sifdar and Edimo in Somalia, AL Rashaidi in Sudan, AL-Shameya in Syria, and AL Majaheem and Lourak in Arabia. Race camels include the Mehari in the Sahara from Mauritania in the west to the eastern boarders of Sudan in the east; the Anafi and Bishari in Sudan; the Rukby in Ain Safra between Mauritania, Morocco and Algeria; Hogar in the Middle hills of Algeria; Oulad Bou Sayf in the Western Oasis of Libya and Al Hojon in Arabia.

The main objectives of this paper include the establishment of the basis for the classification of the breed types of the dromedary camels according to their production potentialities within the different agro-pastoral systems.

(Key Words: Dromedary Camels, Breed Types, CARDN).


The family camelidae is divided into two genera. The genus camelus includes two species: Camelus dromedarius, the dromedary, one-humped or Arabian camel; and the Camelus bactrianus, the bactrian or the two- humped camel. The second genus is the llama comprising four species: llama glama, the llama and llama pacos, the Alpaca which are domesticated; and llama guanacoe, the guanaco and llama vicugna, the vicuna which are wild (Mason, 1979; Simpson, 1945).

The habitat of the dromedary is the dry hot zones of North Africa, Ethiopia, the Near East and West Central Asia. Bactrian camel occupies the cold

deserts of southern areas of the former Soviet Union, Mongolia, East-Central Asia and China (Wilson, 1984). The limeades exist in the cold heights of Latin America.

It is believed that the dromedary camel was first domesticated in Southern Arabia (Zeuner, 1963) or in the Northern steppe and deserts of Arabia (Bullet, 1975; Mikesell, 1955). Khanna (1990) and Kohler (1982) reported that the dromedary camels might have been separately domesticated in India.

The camel plays vital socio-economic roles and supports the survival of millions of people in the semi dry and arid zones of Asia and Africa. Camel

M. F. Wardeh


milk is the sole nourishment for the Pastoralists for prolonged periods each year. The camel proved it is the fit domestic animal during severe drought periods. The camel not only survived such droughts, but continued producing and reproducing (Wardeh, 1989a).

From about 19.4 million camels worldwide (FAO, 2003), the dromedary accounts for 95%. The Near East, North Africa and the Sahel region have about 70% (12.5 million) of the world's dromedary population. Somalia and the Sudan together own more than half of this figure. Camels contribute more than 26% of the animal biomass in Mauritania, 42% in Somalia and 37% in the United Arab Emirates. In the former two countries, camels have retained their important socio-economic role and constitute a large share of animal exports. In the latter, camels have become insignificant when compared with the oil sector, but remain prominent in social terms. Camels comprise 10% of the animal biomass in the Niger, 11% in the Sudan, 16% in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and 9% in Tunisia. The biomass of the camel in the other countries is below 10% nevertheless it plays a considerable role in the provision of subsistence, transport and draught power.

The camel possesses unique qualities which make it superior to other domesticated animals in the hot and arid desert ecosystems. These attributes of the camel are reinforced by its ability to traverse considerable distances with much less effort than other species, moving from one patch of short-lived vegetation to another.

The future role of camels will lie in their capacity to produce milk and meat and, to a lesser extent in the provision of draught power and transport. If the camel is to retain its unique position, then its capacity to utilize low quality feed resources and convert them into animal protein, power and other products, must not be lost. Its physiology and special features are therefore not only of a scientific interest, but are the basic sustenance for people who live in marginal dry land areas.

A New System for Classification of Camels

The dromedary camels adapted themselves to the ecosystems of dry and arid zones where they are subject to harsh conditions in addition to the severe fluctuations in the nutritional status, which in turn affect their performance in general. Moreover, the dromedary camels were not subject to modern studies and improvement.

Selection to perform certain physiological functions such as milk or meat production was not practiced on camels. They were selected to perform certain types of work and burden, and were classified into two basic classes (Wilson, 1984). The two classes were the Ride and the Pack camels. The Ride camels were subdivided into Ride and Race camels, while the Pack camels were subdivided into Plain and Hill camels (Lesse, 1927). Moreover, camels were named after tribal or territorial names (Wardeh, 1988a, 1989a; Mason, 1979; Hartly, 1979).

The new classification system aims at establishing the foundation for selection of camels on the basis of their performance as Meat, Dairy, Dual purpose and Race animals. Such system of classification will fit the requirements for the development of camel production and the improvement of the standard of their herders.

Meat Camels Are characterized by the development of the hindquarters, large hump, rigid body, relatively short neck and large head, and heavy bones and muscles (Wilson, 1984; Wardeh et al. 1990). Examples of Meat camels are:

Al-Arabi: Which is referred to most pack camels in Sudan regardless of the source (Wilson, 1984). However, Al-Arabi is subdivided into three breed types, the Light Pack which is found west of the Nile and in the area of the Red Sea, where the Hendiweneda, Beni Amer and AL-Omara tribes keep it, and the big Arabi in the area of Bitana where the three tribes of Shokreya, Battahin, and Lahaween exist. The third is the Heavy Arabi camel which is characterized by its heavy

Classification of the Dromedary Camels


weight (over 500 kg), big hump, long neck, big head, Roman nose, heavy bones, and sandy grey or fawn color, usually with long hair on the hump and the shoulders (Khouri, 2000).

Al-Jandaweel (Gandoil): Found in Southern Mauritania along the Senegal river, but are not typical lowland reverine camels and vary in origin. However, they are big, well built, dark in color and heavy animals that are mainly used for draft (Wardeh, 1989b). The good feed of Senegal river valley might have resulted in the development of heavy camels.

Nabul: Found in Nabul area at the coastal zone North Tunisia and are heavier than the other coastal camels and have larger humps.

Al-Delta: Found in the Egyptian Delta and are used mainly for agricultural draft and transport. The Delta camel is not a distinctive breed in the real sense, but a general-purpose camel that was developed under sufficient supply of green feeds and water and, hence attained a large size and well-developed quarters and muscles. It can carry heavy loads and is used to perform agricultural functions (Wardeh et al. 1990).

Al-Fellahi: This camel breed type is kept by farmers from whom it derived its name along the Nile in upper (Southern) Egypt. Al-Fellahi camel is characterized by its heavy bones and muscles, big size and its slow pace. It is generally used in agricultural work and transport. It also responds well to fattening.

Dairy Camels Are characterized by high milk production which is not less than 2500 kg/head/season under natural grazing conditions (Wardeh et al. 1990), the development of the udder and milk veins, small hump, less beefy body conformation and relatively big abdomen. Examples are:

Hoor Camels: They are the most numerous and widely distributed in Boucle, Herein, Galgadud, Metage, Middle Shabbily and some parts of Gedo regions of Somalia (Hussein, 1987). They are characterized by their small size, short legs, and white color.

Hoor camels are adapted to the more arid regions of Somalia. They mature between 3-5 years of age, but practically breed at 5-6. They lose weight during the dry season, but have fast compensatory growth and are very susceptible to biting flies.

The average daily milk production is 7-8 kg (2-20 kg). Milk production is about 2050 kg (800-2800 kg) during a period of 8 to 16 months.

Rashaida: Found in the Kasala area of eastern Sudan and raised by the well-known Rashaida tribe. They are medium sized camels, hardy, red colored and produce sufficient amounts of milk (2000-3000 kg/head/season) (Kohler-Rollefson et al. 1990; Wardeh, 1989a; Khouri, 2000).

Shallageea: The Shallageea camels are found at the coastal strip of the Red Sea in North-East Sudan. They are sturdy and mainly browse on the salty adlib (Suaeda fruticosa) and the similar, but smaller (HADMAL) supplemented with the leaves and fruits of mangrove. The Shallageea are very skilful at walking into the sea and nipping the lemon-like fruits from the mangrove stands (Hjort and Dahl, 1991). Frequently, they wade so deeply that only the head and hump are visible above water.

The Shallageea are very good milkers, especially during November, March and July, when the adlib is in fruit. At the early night milking, one camel may give up to 6 kg. Three hours later it may give another 3.5 kg. The morning milk could then amount to 6-7 kg (Hjort and Dahl, 1991). With three milkings per day each animal gives a daily yield of 15-18 kg. During good rains and excellent pasture on the adlib side, an animal gives about 18-21 kg of milk daily.

Sirtawi: Found mainly in Sirt area in the middle coastal zone in Libya (Wardeh, 1989b). They vary in color from light or dark brown, medium in size, hump is not well developed, and udder is fairly developed. Selected females in certain private farms and herds respond to feeding by producing high amounts of milk (3000-4000 kg/305 days).

M. F. Wardeh


Ould Sidi Al-Sheikh: Found in Ain Safra area among the north-eastern boarders of Mauritania, the south-eastern boarders of Morocco and south-western boarders of Algeria. They are light in color, well built with good body conformation measuring 180 cm at the elbow. They have fairly developed udder and are well bred by the tribe of the same name. They produce about 2000 kg per annum under natural range condition and respond well to feeding in the breeding station for camel husbandry in the same area. Milk production might go up to 3500 kg/305 days under good feeding conditions.

Fakhreya: Are well known for their milk production (3500 kg/y) under natural grazing conditions in the southern and western areas from Benghazi in Libya (Wardeh et al. 1991b).

Dual-purpose Camels Are characterized by medium body size, average milk production (1000-1500 kg/ head), relatively high rate of gain when feed is available and medium hump (Wardeh, 1988a, b). Most of the pack and riding camels may fit into this category (Wardeh et al. 1990). Examples are:

Sifdar: Found in lower Shabbily river belt in Somalia. They are tall, light, and grey to reddish in color. They reach maturity at 5-6 years, but breed at 6-7 years. They slowly lose weight during the dry season and are relatively resistant to biting flies (Hussein, 1987). Sifdar camels produce about 4 kg milk daily (2-6 kg) and about 1000 kg during 6-10 months.

Eyddimo: Camels are distributed in Bay, Gedo and Juga regions of Somalia. They are characterized by being very tall, heavily built, big humped, long necked, white colored and have Roman nose.

Eyddimo camels have a slow rate of gain during the wet season and slow rate of weight loss during the dry season. They mature at 7-8 years of age, produce about 1000 kg milk during 6-10 months (4 kg /day) and are very susceptible to biting flies (Hussein, 1987).

The Maghrebi: Found in most coastal zones of the North African territories that extend from Egypt to Morocco. The Maghrebi is a camel of several strains that vary in size, body conformation and color. It is believed to be a mixture of the Sudani, Egyptian, Libyan and Tunisian camels (Wilson, 1984; Wardeh, 1989a).

The Maghrebi camel is medium in size with small but pointed hump. Besides pack use, the Maghrebi camel is used for all kinds of agricultural, industrial and draft purposes. A number of types are locally developed serve certain functions. The Maghrebi camel generally responds to feeding and might gain about 700-1000 grams per day during the first year under intensive conditions.

Aririt: Found in the vast plateau west of the Red Sea hills of Aulib in Sudan. Their main advantage is their endurance as transport animals, they can cover long distances at a steady pace without water. The Aririt are also fair milk producers. Well kept animals give 2.5-5 kg milk at the midday and evening milking, and 3.5-5 kg in the morning (Hjort and Dahl, 1991). The volume of milk production depends heavily on the quality of pasture.

Ayat Al-Khabbash: They are well-developed pack animals and respond to fattening. They are found about the same areas as the Chambi Bani-Abbas camels, but raised by another tribe in Southern Algeria.

Al-Qerawan: Found in the Qerawan district in the middle of Tunisia. They are medium in size, well built, have developed humps and muscles and respond well to fattening. This camel is well trained to perform all kinds of draft work in agriculture and transport.

Oulad Bou Sayf, Orfella and Fezzan: Are breed types of the Mehari and its hybrids that are found in the western Libyan Oases. They are medium in size, light in color and mainly utilized for riding, pack purpose and milk production.

Tibisti: Found in southern areas of Libya and northern Chad. They are small riding camels that fit stony deserts.

Classification of the Dromedary Camels


Al Majaheem: Found in Najd and AL Dawaser valley in North and North East Saudi Arabia. They are big, rigid and black in color. They are known to be good dairy animals under range conditions. They also respond to better feeding and management practices where they produce an average of 3550 kg of consumable milk annually (AL-Motairy and Hashimi, 1988).

Al Majaheem are also fast growing camels. The average birth weight is 42 kg. They reach 300 kg at one year of age and about 750 kg when five years old (Wardeh, 1989a). Lourak: Found in most parts in Arabia, but there are two distinctive breed types within this group of camels each of which that breeds alike:

(1) Al-Maghateer: (AL Wadh or ALbeedh):

Found mainly in North Saudi Arabia and may be found in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait. They are medium to large animals and have pure white color (Wardeh, 1989a). Al-Maghateer are known to be good dairy camels and people liked them and have been proud of owing them through history. They produce about 3500 kg of consumable milk per year. They vary much in milk production within the group (AL Motairy and Hashimi, 1988).

Al Maghateer camels grow well under natural range conditions and grow fast under improved feeding and management practices. Average birth weight is 40 kg. They reach 250 kg at one year of age and about 550 kg at maturity.

(2) Al Homr: They are red colored camels found in many parts of Saudi Arabia and maintain their red color when bred together or with other breed types. AL Homr are fair milking animals. They produce about 2650 kg of consumable milk a year. Some individuals produced 3592 kg a year under improved conditions (AL Motairy and Hashimi, 1988). The average birth weight is 37 kg. They reach about 220 kg at one year of age and about 420 kg at maturity. They are also used as riding and pack animals.

Al-Shameya: Found in the Syrian steppe, north of Jordan, north of Saudi Arabia and west of Iraq.

These camel are characterized by their fast growth and fair milk production. The average mature weight reaches 660-780 kg for males and 570-680 kg for females (Wardeh, 1989a; ACSAD, 1983a). Average milk production ranges from 2550 to 5400 kg in 300 days (ACSAD, 1983b).

Al-Khawar: Found in northern steppes of Syria and western steppes of Iraq. The average mature weights reache about 665 kg in males and 540 kg in females (ACSAD, 1983b). Average milk production ranges from 1800 kg to 2000 kg in 15 to 18 months.

Race Camels Race camels are characterized by small heads and ears; alert eyes; fine and supple neck that is joined low down to the trunk, long and fine shoulders; very deep chest with well sprung ribs right to the back and terminating not far from pelvic bone, straight and fairly close forelegs; straight and well spaced hindlegs; well muscled quarters; medium feet; fine and supple skin, and easy and tireless pace. Race camels are also used in the police force in many countries (Wilson, 1984; Wardeh, 1989a) examples are:

The Mehari or Mehri: The Mehari is a thoroughbred race camel that descended from the Murrah camels in the Sultanate of Oman. They are beautiful, light colored and very famous race camels in the Sahara.

The colonial French troops formed the Meharist corp. They used the Mehari camels for riding troop and divided them into three categories according to height at withers. Camels that were 190-200 cm high were used by officers, while those of 185 cm high, were used by ranks and files. Any other camels with less but with a minimum of 180 cm were used as pack animals (Wilson, 1984).

The Regbi: A breed type of the Mehari that is finely built, with a light colored coat and about 200 cm high at the withers, found in the extreme south of Ain Safra south of Algeria and the extreme north of east of Mauritania and north west of Mali.

M. F. Wardeh


The Touareg or Al Tarqi: They are breed types of the Mehari that are raised by the Touareg tribes in the Sahara. They are also called ldrar and AL Azwad camels.

Al Anafi: Are characterized by long legs; slender and light body; short back; small, long head; small narrow, upright ears; large, sharp eyes; fine, thin skin; and white color. They are bred by Juhayneya, AL Refaa, Kenana, Shukreya and Kawahla tribes east of Atbara river in eastern Sudan. AL Anafi camels are race and ride camels which are famous for speed (7-12 km/h), especially for the first 10 km.

Al Bishari: Are bred by Bisharian, AL Omara and Hendiwenda of the Beja tribe in Kassala and the Red Sea regions. They are very famous for their racing ability and won many prizes in Saudi Arabia (Wardeh, 1989a).

Al Bishari are small; strong; have small head with large alert eyes; small and upright ears; Roman nose; short and strong legs; fine and thin skin; and white to yellow color (Khouri, 2000).


ACSAD. 1983a. Hamad Basin Studies. l. Natural and human resources. Annexes 4-7. Animal Wealth in Hamad of Syria. The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry lands. ACSAD/Hamad/Final Report-31, Damascus.

ACSAD. 1983b. Hamad Basin Studies. l. Natural and human resources, Annexes 3-7, Animal Wealth in Iraq. The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands. ACSAD/Hamad/Final report-30, Damascus.

AL- Motairy, S. and A. Hashimi. 1988. Studies on milk production and growth rate of camels in Saudi Arabia. In: FAO Proc. the Camel:

Development Research. Kuwait Seminar 20-23 October, 1985. MlNEADEP, FAO, Rome. pp 53-70.

Bullet, R.W. 1975. The camel and the wheel. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press.

327 pp.

Epstein, H. 1971. The origin of the domestic animals of Africa. Vol. 2, African Publ. Corp. NY.

F AO. 2003. Production Yearbook. Vol. 56 Rome.

Hartley, B.J. 1979. The dromedary of the horn of Africa. In: Cockrill, R.W. (ed). The Camelid an All Purpose Animal. Vol. 1: 77-97. Scandinavian Institute of African Studies. Uppsala, Sweden.

Hjort, A. and G. Dahl. 1991. Responsible man. The Attman Beja of north-eastern Sudan. Stockholm studies in social anthropology, SA cooperation with Nordiska African Institute, Uppsala, Sweden. 196 pp.

Hussein, A.M. 1987. Emir notes on camel breeds in Somalia. Camel forum. Working paper No. 17. Somali Academy of Sciences and Arts, Mogadishu and the Scandinavian Institute for African Studies, Sweden.



photo-historic to the present times. Ind. J.







Sci., 60: 1093-1101.

Khouri, F. 2000. Camels in Sudan: Ecology, Production Systems, Characterization and Herd Dynamics. The Camel Applied Research and Development Network (CARDN). The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD). CARDN/ACSAD/ Camel/ P 96/2000. 137 pp.

Kohler, I. 1982. Camel Domestication. Ph. D dissertation. Vet. Med. ed. Druch die tierarztliche hochschule. Hannover, Germany.

168 pp.

Kohler-Rollefson, I., B.E. Musa and M.F. Fadl. 1990. Camel breeding and management of eastern Sudan. Camel Newsletter 6:5-8. The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, ACSAD, Damascus.

Classification of the Dromedary Camels


Leese, A.S. 1927. A treatise on the one-humped camel in health and disease. Haines and Sons Stanford, England. 382 pp.

Mason, I. 1979. Origins, evaluation and distribution of domestic camels. In: Cockrill, R.W. (ed). The Camelid an All-Purpose Animal. Vol. 1:16-35. Scandinavian Institute of African Studies. Uppsala, Sweden.

Mikesell, M.K. 1955. Notes on the dispersal of the dromedary south-western. J. Anthropology, 11: 231- 245.







classification and a classification of mammals.

Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. His., 85: 1-350.

Wardeh, M.F. 1988a. Camels in Somalia. Agricultural and Water 7: 79-85. ACSAD, Damascus.

Wardeh, M.F.1988b. Camel in Libya. Agricultural and Water. 8: 56-60. ACSAD, Damascus.

Wardeh, M.F. 1989a. Arabian camels: Origin, breeds and husbandry. Al Mallah Publ., Damascus. 500 pp.

Wardeh, M.F. 1989b. Camel production in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Camel Newsletter 5: 67-71. ACSAD, Damascus.

Wardeh, M.F. and M. Ould AL-Mustafa. 1990. Camel breed types in the Arab Countries North and West Africa. In: Arab Symp. Camel Husbandry and Diseases and Methods of Their Control. March 24-26,1990. Alger, Algeria. ACSAD /AS/ p105/ 1990, Damascus.

Wardeh, M.F., A.A. Zaied and H.S. Horier. 1991. Camel breed types (Camelus dromedarius) in Arab Africa. In: Wardeh, M.F.; R.T. Wilson and A. A. Zaied (eds.) proc. International Conference on Camel Production and improvement. Tobruk, Libya. Dec. 10-13,190. ACSAD/ Camel /p1/ 1991. pp 78-86.

Wilson, R.T. 1984. The camel. Longman. London and New York.







animals. Hutchinson, London.

Camel Breeds of India

N.D. Khanna, A.K. Rai and S.N. Tandon

National Research Centre on Camel P.O. Box 07, Bikaner 330001, India


The Indian camel population presently is 1.4 m mostly confined to north western dry part of the country. Ten breeds/strains of Indian camels having specific characteristics inhabiting different breeding tracts, are discussed. The Indian camels did not have contact with exogenous camels from other parts of the world for very long time and therefore various breeds have evolved through selective breeding. In this country, camels are mostly used for draught and riding purposes, though camel milk is also utilized as a by-product. The Bikaneri breed is the most famous and most widely distributed camel breed, mainly developed for draught and baggage. The Jaisalmeri is very fast and gracious riding camel breed. The animals of Kachchhi breed are heavy set and good milkers. These animals are also very good draught animals, though comparatively slow. Mewari camels are of comparatively short stature and have been developed as hill camels. Heavy riverain camels are available in the areas heavy good rainfall and these animals are mostly used for hauling heavy cart loads. The other breeds/strains are Mewari, Mewati, Shekhawati and Sindhi. Evaluation of three camel breeds (Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri and Kachchhi) with respect to certain productive and reproductive traits is described.

(Key words: Dromedary Camels, Breeds, India).


The Indian camel population has been estimated at 1.4 m out of 19 m world population (FAO, 1989). This is the third highest, after Somalia and Sudan. The camel population more than doubled between 1945 (0.654 m) and 1989 (1.4 m).

The camels in India are single humped (Camelus dromedarius). They are utilized for various purposes since very ancient time (Khanna, 1990). The Indian camel is a multipurpose animal, the principal uses being draught, transport and agricultural operations. Other production functions are milk, hair and hide.


The distribution of camels in India is in the arid and semi arid zones. As per the livestock census (base 1982), Rajasthan state accounted for 70.1% of Indian camel population followed by Haryana, Gujarat and Punjab (Table 1). The camel density in the whole country and Rajasthan,

Haryana, Gujarat and Punjab states was 0.37, 2.25, 2.78, 0.38 and 1.27 per sq km, respectively (Khanna et al. 1990). Highest camel density (3.0/sq km and 475 per 1000 persons) was present in 11 arid districts of western Rajasthan which accounted for almost 60% of total Indian camel population and contributed 9.9% towards total domestic herbivore livestock biomass.

About 50-55 double humped camels are also present in the Nubra valley of lithic district in Jammu and Kashmir state (Khanna et al. 1990).


Based on their utility, two main classes of Indian camels were distinguished namely baggage and riding (Nanda, 1957). Earlier, Leese (1927) classified camels into (i) Hill camel (ii) Plain camel and (iii) intermediate between Hill and Plain camel. The plain camels were further classified into Desert and Riverain camels. Similar broad classification was adopted by Kaura (1961). Camel breeds/strains have also been

N. D. Khanna, A. K. Rai and S. N. Tandon


defined on the basis of locality, body characteristics and size. There are groups of camels with district characteristics by which these are classified into distinct types, yet, locally, these are recognized as breeds. Of various camel breeds, the Bikaneri breed is the principal breed, which has been defined by a committee appointed by the Government. Distinct breeds/strains of camels identified are (1) Bikaneri (2) Jaisalmeri (3) Kachchhi, (4) Marwari, (5) Mewari (6) Sindhi (7) Shekhawati (8) Riverain (9) Mewati (10) Double humped camels. Rathore (1986) believed that there are only four distinct camel breeds in India viz. Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri, Mewari and Kachchhi. There are other strains which are perhaps crossbreds of different major breeds or nondescript types. The Indian camels did not have any contact with camels of other countries for long time and thus have developed into breeds/ strains through selective breeding.

The following breed description provides salient characteristics of some breeds and breed evaluation of three major breeds: Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri and Kachchhi.

Bikaneri Bikaneri is a popular multi-purpose camel breed having home tract in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan state. Where temperatures from 48° C to 1° C. These animals are docile and easy to train and manage. The Bikaneri camels have heavy strong built and large body frame (Table 2). The coat color varies from light sandy to dark blackish brown with short coarse hair. Reddish brown colored animals are preferred by local people. Bikaneri camels have symmetrical body with dome shaped head. The Jhipra strain have an abundance of heavy tufts of hair around eyes, ears, neck, under jaw and have thick eye lashes. The head is heavy looking, medium sized with a well defined "stop- a hollow above eyes" causing nose to tilt upwards. The neck is medium sized with marked curve giving graceful carriage of head. Eyes are bright, round with alert look and are protruding. Nostrils are slit with small muzzle and chin, tight and moist lower lip. Ears are small erect with blunt taps. Shoulders are strong broad and well set to the chest. Hump is very well

developed in males and is placed in the center of the back. The chest pad is well developed and its touching ground evenly is a good confirmation. Forelegs are long, strong bony and well separated so that legs do not rub while walking. Ribs long arched and broad based long cylindrical shaped trunk. The pin bones are prominent and quadrangular shaped. Hind legs are slightly weaker than forelegs and are inward curved. The foot pads are medium sized and soft. Tail is medium to small tapering at tip with tufts of long hair at the end. Sheath is small, well tucked up and triangular. Testicles are well developed placed high in the groin. In the females, udder is medium developed, firmly suspended having four teats, each having two orifices. The milk vein is straight and prominent. Rathore (1986) believed that the Bikaneri camels have been developed through selective breeding having blood of Afghan, Tharparker and local strains.

Jaisalmeri Jaisalmeri camels have home tract in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan state having most extreme arid climate. These animals are fine fast gracious looking Indian riding camels. It is believed that these have been developed from Tharparker camels having their home tract in Sindh district of Pakistan (Rathore, 1986). It is estimated that these animals can cover 100 to 125 km a day at high speed of 20-25 km per hour. The Jaisalmeri animals are also used for light load carrying. These animals are lightly built, medium sized and having small head which is carried on lean long neck in a majestic posture. The mouth is small. Ears are small, prominent round intelligent looking eyes, narrow muzzle. There is no distinct "stop" on the forehead. The legs are thin and well shaped, muscular with small foot pad. The coat color varies from light sandy to dark reddish brown. Camels in Jaisalmer area are important in folk culture and social status. There is saying that one who has no pangal (Camel, in local dialect) to ride, it is useless for him to live in this world.

Kachchhi Kachchhi breed has home tract in Kachch district of Guijarat state. The area is dry having

Camel Breeds of India


salt bushes and at some places marshy. The Kachchhi animals have heavy body and dull appearance. The neck is long and thick. The forehead does not have "stop" and nose is comparatively longer. The muzzle has slanting shape. Ears are small and projecting outside. The front legs are comparatively muscular and heavier than the hind legs. The Kachchhi camels are good milkers with well developed udder and milk vein. The coat is hairy. There are no heavy tufts of hair on eye lashes, neck and face. The color varies from dark sandy to blackish brown. Hump is well developed. The trunk is heavy and cylindrical. Testicles are well developed and placed high up. These animals are believed to have been developed from the Sindhi camel breed (Rathore, 1986).

Marwari Marwari camels are found in the Jodhpur, Jalore, Barmer area of Rajasthan state. These animals are heavy built and muscular. The Marwaris have thick set muscular long limbs and capable of performing heavy agricultural work and can carry heavy loads. These animals are also used for riding. There is no "stop” on the forehead. The neck is thick and long. The trunk is long and heavy. These are differentiated from Bikaneri in the facial formation. The strain found in Jalore is called Jalori. These are mixture of Marwari and Jaisalmeri. Jalori animals are comparatively smaller than Marwari but are good quick draught animals and are also good transport animals.

Mewar This breed has home tract in Mewar area consisting of Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Kota and Cotagious Arawali mountainous range in the Rajasthan state. The Mewari camels are short statured, short and light in weight. These have been developed from hill camels and can climb small hills. Mewaris have strong hind quarter, heavy legs, hard thick foot pads. The hair coat is coarse and thick, which protects animals from insect bites. The head is thickest with thick neck. The ears are also short and thick. The tail is longer and thicker. Animals are used for baggage. Unlike Bikaneri, the head has no "stop", the muzzle is loose and lower lip often

droops exhibiting teeth. This breed has also spread into adjoining Madhya Pradesh and Guijarat states.

Sindhi Camels This breed has home tract in the Sindh area of Pakistan, however few animals are also found in some adjoining areas of Joodhpur division of Rajasthan. These camels are very good milkers. They are relatively short with small curved thick neck. Two distinct varieties viz. riding camel called Mahri and baggage camel called laddu are available. The Mahri camels look like Jaisalmeri and heavier laddu variety looks like Riverain type. The heavy Sindhi camels graze in the swamps and could walk in the marshy land without slipping. These animals are sure footed. Their hair coat is long and generally dark brown in color.

Sheckawati/ bagri These camels are bred in Siker and Jhunjhunu districts of Rajasthan and resemble Bikaneri breed. They have big frame but have lesser endurance than Bikaneris. These animals are mostly used for agricultural operations, pack animals, cart pulling and occasionally for riding.

Riverain Camels Riverain camels have home tract in areas with good rain fall, plenty of water supply and good pasture with abundance of vegetation. These are found in areas of Uttar, Pradesh, Punjab states and around both banks of Indus river. These animals are very heavy set and have big structure. The neck and legs are long heavy and strong. The hind quarters are comparatively less developed. The foot pads are oval and soft. Body coat short, thick and rough. They have Roman nose. These animals are good baggage animals but slow and sluggish. Riverain camels thrive very well in the semi arid areas.

Mewati Mewati camels are prevalent in Alwar and Bharatpur districts of Rajasthan. The animals are strong and heavy in body built-up. The endurance and draught capacity of the Mewati camel are good, therefore these animals are utilized for

N. D. Khanna, A. K. Rai and S. N. Tandon


loading, riding and ploughing. The general appearance of these animals indicates that this strain has been developed through selective breeding of Riverain camels from adjacent areas.

Breed Evaluation

At the National Research Center on Camel (NRCC), Bikaner, three camels breeds viz. Bikaneri, Kachchhi and Jaisalmeri are presently maintained under semi- intensive management system. Few crossbred animals, Arabi x Bikaneri are also available. Detailed information on breeding parameters of Bikaneri has been published by Khanna et al (1990). Breed evaluation with respect to body weights, body measurements, growth patterns, reproduction, production traits and hair production are presented in Tables 2 to 5. Variation with respect to age at first calving, hair production, milk production, and body measurements was observed between four genetic groups presently studied. It may be mentioned here that Jaisalmeri and Kachchhi breeds were introduced recently at the NRCC and therefore elaborate data were not available in these breeds to arrive at some conclusive results.

Body Weights The average birth weight of male and female Bikaneri calves were 42.15 ± 0.773 and 38.82 ± 0.641 kg, respectively. Kachchhi calves were born lightest, while Jaisalmeri occupied inter-mediate position.

The birth weight of Arabi x Bikaneri, crossbreds was though lower but quite close to the Bikaneri calves (Table 2). Statistical analysis indicated significant variation in the birth weight between different genetic groups attained mature weight is 600, 550, 570 and 550 kg for the 4 groups in (Table 2). The average adult body weight was highest in the Bikaneri breed 617.33 ± 17.02 kg in males and 577.83 ± 9.79 in females, while body weights of other genetic groups were comparable. The adult Bikaneri animals were heaviest and Jaisal-meri animals were lightest (Table 3).

Body Measurements Body measurements are presented in Table 3. The leg length of both fore and hind legs were comparable in all the four groups. The length of the hind limb was 8-10 cm more than the forelimb. The body length, heart girth and height at withers were more in the Bikaneri animals as compared to other three groups. The neck length and circumference of neck at base was also more in the Bikaneri breed. The circumference of neck at base was also more in the Bikaneri breed. These observations indicated that the Bikaneri animals had bigger and massive body frame. The circumference of foot pad were more in the fore limb than the hind limb. larger foot pads were present in Jaisalmeri and Kachchhi male as compared to Bikaneri and crossbred males. The Kachchhi animals had longest face length whereas crossbreds had smallest face length.

Body Weight Gain The body weight gain varied from 702 ± 7.37 gm/day (Jaisalmeri) to 789.21±7.33 gm/day (Bikaneri) from birth to 3 months of age. The rate of body weight gain per day progressively declined as the age increased. At 1-2 years of age it was 177 ± 13.42 g/day to 238 ± 1.00 g/day (Table 4). The difference in the body weight gain from birth to 3 months of age was statistically significant between all the genetic groups except Jaisalmeri and crossbreds. This parameter also exhibited significant variability from three months to two years of age.

Reproductive and Productive Parameters Reproductive and productive traits of four genetic groups are presented in Table 5. Kachchhi animals were best milkers yielding on an average 5.2 to 14.6 liters per day with peak yield of 18 liters/day. Limited data indicated that crossbred, were more efficient in the reproductive behavior. Annual clipping done once a year at the NRCC breeding farm indicated that hair production ranged from 1089.13 ± 0.390 to 1240 ± 1.25g.

Studies in respect to evaluation of work performance draught and riding potentials of Indian camels have been conducted (Khanna, 1991). The effect of work stress on various

Camel Breeds of India


physical, biochemical and hematological parameters have been studied.

Draught Potential Bikaneri camels carrying payloads varying from 1200-1800 kg on two wheel carts generated 90-120 kg draught at an average speed of 5 km per hr working continuously for 4 hours. The draught produced amounted to 17.2% of body weight. Studies on breed differences in draughtability of the adult camels at 3 kg/kg pay load on a two wheel cart at the speed of 5 km/hr as per the changes in physiological responses indicated Bikaneri (Rai and Khanna, 1991).

Test for endurance of different breeds was conducted at 20% body weight as fixed draught in a loading car. Bikaneri camels worked for a period of 54. 3 ± 2.33 min and converted a distance of 3.43 ± 0.13 km before exhaustion. The horsepower generated was 1.67 ± 0.09. This was followed by the performance of Kachchhi and Jaisalmeri convening 3.3 km in 53.3 ± 1.67 and 58.3 ± 1.67 min generating 1.58 and 1.46 horse power respectively. Positive correlation of body length with tractive force has been observed during ploughing stress.

Speed and Strides The speed of Bikaneri (5.87 km/h) was more than Jaisalmeri (5.52 km/h) during walk while during trot and gallop the speed of Jaisalmeri was higher (13.37 and 26.57 km/h) than Kachchhi (12.34 and 24.06 km/h) and Bikaneri (11.82 and 24.05 km/h). In general the observations on duration of strides/strides per second and speed during trot and gallop indicated Jaisalmeri camels to be more efficient followed by Kachchhi for speed. However, during walk, Bikaneri was found to be superior (Rai et al. 1992).

Ploughing Capacity The results of preliminary experiment on ploughing capacity of different breeds of camel showed that the average draught produced per 100 km body weight during ploughing was 11.29, 13.93 and 16.80, respectively in Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri and Kachchhi breeds. The area ploughed per hour was highest in Kachchhi (774

m²) followed by Jaisalmeri (729 m²) and Bikaneri (717 m²). The Bikaneri camels exhibited better endurance and could plough for 4.88 hrs continuously, while Jaisalmeri and Kachchhi camels displayed fatigue symptoms comparatively earlier i.e. at 4.25 and 3.63 hr, respectively (Roy et al. 1992).

Bikaneri animals are very good draught and transport animals having excellent endurance. Jaisalmeri is good light weight versatile breed having potential for fast work and good speed. Kachchhi animals are dual purpose animals having good milk potential.










Kaura, R.l. 1961. Indian Breeds of Livestock. Perm Publishers, Lucknow. 97 pp.

Khanna, N.D., A.K. Rai and S.N. Tandon. 1990. Population trends and distribution of camel population in India. Ind. J. Anim. Sci., 60:


Khanna, N.D. 1990. Camels in India from the protohistoric to the present times. Ind. J. Anim. Sci., 60: 1093-1101.

Khanna, N.D. 1991. Overview of work performance of camel as draught and riding animal. In. Wardeh M.F., R. T. Wilson and A.A. Zaied (eds). Proc. Int. Conf. Camel Prod. and Improvement. Dec.10-13, 1990 Tobruk, Libya. ACSAD/CARDN/P1/1991. Damascus. pp 191-201.

Khanna, N.D., S.N. Tandon and A.K. Rai. 1990. Breeding parameters of Indian camels. Ind.

J. Anim. Sci., 60: 1347-1354.

Leese, A.S. 1927. A treatise on the one-humped camel in health and disease. Haynes and Sons, Stanford. 382 pp.

Nanda, P.N. 1957. Camels and their management. Review Series No. 6, 17 pp.

N. D. Khanna, A. K. Rai and S. N. Tandon


Rai, A.K.,

A.K. Roy and N.D. Khanna. 1992. A

note on speed and strides of different breeds of

camel. Ind. J. Anim. Sci., 62 (1).

Rai, A.K. and N.D. Khanna. 1991. Effect of load pulling on physiological responses of camel. In: Wardeh, M.F., R.T. Wilson and A.A. Zaied (eds). Proc. Int. Conf. Camel Prod. and Improvement. Dec. 10 -13,1990, Tobruk,

Libya. ACSAD/ CARDN /P1 /1991. pp


Rathore, G.S. 1986. Camels and their management. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi. 228 pp.

Roy, A.K., A.K. Rai and N.D. Khanna. 1992. Draught capacity and fatigue symptoms under ploughing stress in camel. Ind. J. Anim. Sci., 62 (4).

Table 1. One humped camel population of India (more than 1000).




Indian Camel Population









Himachal Pradesh




Jammu and Kashmir




Madhya Pradesh
















Uttar Pradesh




Table 2. Body weight at different age groups of three Indian camel breeds and Arabi x Bikaneri crosses (1985-90).




Kachchhi Cross breeds)

(Arabri x Bikaneri










Birth Weight

















Weight at 6 Months

















Weight at 1 Year

















Weight at 2 Years

















Weight 3


















Adult Weight 4 years and above

















NA = not available.

Camel Breeds of India


Table 3. Body measurements of adult camels of three Indian camel breeds and Arabi x Bikaneri crosses.





Cross breeds (Arabri x Bikaneri)

Breed Measurements









Leg Length (cm)



































Body length (cm)

















Heart girth (cm)

















Height at withers (cm)

















Neck length

















Circumference of foot pad (cm)




































Circumference of neck (cm)


At base

















At head

















Face length (cm)

















Table 4. Average weight gain (g/day) of three Indian camel breeds and Arabi x Bikaneri crosses.

Age group




Arabi X Bikaneri

0-3 months









3-6 months









6-12 months









1-2 years









Figures in parenthesis indicate number of observations.

N. D. Khanna, A. K. Rai and S. N. Tandon


Table 5. Reproductive and productive parameters of three Indian camel breeds and Arabi X Bikaneri.






Arabi X Bikaneri

Gestation length (days

381.85 ±1.17


384.72 ±3.88



± 5.69 (18)

379.75 ± 6.93 (27)

Age at first service (days)

1424.97±41.41 (66)

1412.00±16.50 (2)

1094.50 ±3.42 (6)

1198.87+76.08 (2)

Age at first calving (days)

1855.51±40.18 (75)





Calving interval (days)

741.89±9.83 (91)


±19.36 (5)





Milk Yield








Lit/d (at peak)






Figures in parentheses indicate number of observations. NA = Not available.

Studies on Pituitary-Ovarian Axis in the Female Camel with Special Reference to Cystic and Inactive Ovaries

A.A. Hegazy 1 , A.Ali 2 , M. Al-Eknah 3 and S. Ismail 4

1 Dept. of Pathology, Faculty of Vet.,Med., Cairo Univ., Giza12211, Egypt. 2 Dept. of Anatomy, College of Vet. Med., King Faisal Univ., KSA. 3 & 4 Dept.of Clinical Studies, College of Vet. Med. King Faisal Univ., P.O. Box 1757, Al-Hasa 31982, Saudi Arabia.


The present investigation was performed on 190 female camel slaughtered at Al-Ahsa modern slaughterhouse throughout one year. Blood samples, pituitary glands and ovaries were collected. FSH, LH, E 2 and progesterone hormones were determined in cases of cystic and inactive ovaries as well as follicular ovarian wave. The ovarian examination revealed the increase incidence of inactive ovaries during summer and cystic ovaries during spring and autumn.

Histological and histochemical pictures of pituitary gland during inactive, cystic and ovarian follicular wave were described and discussed.

(Key Words: Dromedary Camel, Pituitary Gland, Cystic Ovary, Reproductive Hormones).


She-camel is seasonally polyoestrus and induced ovulators. Follicular growth occurs in regular waves during the breeding season (Musa et al. 1993) where waves of follicular growth, maturation and atresia occur constantly in both ovaries (Musa and Abu-Sineina, 1976; El- Wishy and Hemeida, 1984). Al-Eknah et al (1993) recorded four distinct uterine phases cor- responding to ovarian activity (follicular, atretic follicular, non-follicular and growing follicular stages). FSH and LH control growth and reproductive activities of the gonadal tissue (Franchimont, 1973; Daughadny, 1985). The gonadotrophic cells of pituitary secrete both FSH and LH in response to gonadotrophic releasing hormone (LHRH or Gn-RH) from the medial basal hypothalamus. Release of both

FSH and LH


(Bonnar, 1973).

from the pituitary is under a






The incidence of cystic and inactive ovaries among Saudi camel females increases in summer (Hegazy et al. 2001). The actual cause has not been elucidated. Ovarian cysts are believed to be due to deficient LH surge (Jubb and Kennedy, 1993) however inactive ovaries were attributed to the adverse body condition (Tibary and Anouassi, 1997). No previous studies could be detected to explain and discuss this phenomenon, which initiated the idea of this work.

The present study aimed to investigate the cellular activity of pituitary gland in cases of

Studies on Pituitary-Ovarian Axis in the Female Camel with Special Reference to Cystic and Inactive Ovaries


active, inactive and cystic ovaries and to determine FSH, LH, E 2 and progesterone concentrations in relation to cellular activity of pars distalis and ovarian changes.

Materials and Methods

This investigation was performed on 190 female camel slaughtered in Al-Ahsa modern slaughterhouse throughout one year (January – December 2001).

Blood Samples 10 ml blood was collected from each animal before slaughtering in silicon-coated tubes. Sera were separated and marked according to ovarian picture and stored at –40 o C for further hormonal analysis.

Ovaries Ovaries of each animal were grossly examined and ovarian structure was recorded.

Pituitary Glands A total of 100 pituitary glands were collected randomly representing the different ovarian cases. The glands were immediately dissected from the animals just after slaughtering and fixed directly in a 10% neutral formaline. Tissue samples were collected and processed by paraffin embedding method. Serial sections at 4 µ in thickness were performed and stained by H&E (Harris, 1898), Orange-Fuchsine Green (Slidder, 1961; Halmi, 1952), PFA, AB, PAS, Orange G (Adams, 1956).

The Cell Count of Anterior Pituitary The count of different cells of the anterior pituitary gland was performed using the technique adopted by Kandil (1975). Three fields in the anterior pituitary were chosen. The first field was adjacent to the cleft, the second field in the core while the third one was in the posterior part.

H ormonal Analysis

Evaluation of LH, FSH, E 2 , and progesterone were performed on 51 serum samples (20 active

ovaries, 16 active ovaries and 15 cystic ovaries (11 follicular and 4 luteal).

Hormonal evaluation was performed using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) method using kits of Abbot laboratories (USA).


Ovaries The incidence of ovarian activity, inactivity and cystic ovaries in the 190 female camels during the different seasons of the year (January – December 2001) is presented in Table 1 and in Figures 1-3.

The total incidence of the ovarian changes among examined cases per year (January – December 2001) is presented in Table 2.

The study on the ovarian changes revealed that the incidence of inactive ovaries occupied the highest percentage of ovarian abnormalities and reached its peak in summer season. While follicular cysts occupied the second place and reached its peak in summer followed by spring and autumn.

Hormonal Analysis The mean values of FSH, LH, E 2 and progesterone in relation to ovarian changes are illustrated in Table 3.

The hormonal analysis in case of cystic ovaries (follicular cysts) revealed decrease of FSH and LH concomitant with increase of E 2 and progesterone levels in comparison with that of active follicular wave.

In case of inactive ovaries, there was a marked increase in E 2, progesterone and decrease in FSH in comparison to the hormonal level in cases of active ovary (follicular wave), while the level of LH was comparable to that in case of active ovary.

In case of luteal cyst, there was an increase in the levels of LH progesterone and E 2 levels than in case of active ovaries with a decrease in FSH level.

A.A. Hegazy, A.Ali, M. Al-Eknah and S. Ismail


Pituitary Gland The histological study indicated that pituitary glands of the female camels were subdivided into adenohypophysis and neurohypophysis. The adenohypophysis consisted of three portions, pars distalis, pars tuberales and pars intermedia. The pars distalis and pars intermedia were separated from each other by interglandular cleft. A fibrous capsule of collagenous fibers continuous with the stromal fibers covers it. The parenchyma consisted of cords, clusters or pseudofollicles.

The cells of pars distalis were divided into acidophilic, basophilic and chromophobe cells. The acidophilic cells are localized at the central and posterior parts of anterior pituitary glands. Two types of acidophilic cells, the somatotrophic cells (STH) and lactotrophic cells (LTH) could be recognized. The somatotrophic cells were large polyhedral and mostly localized in posterior parts. The cells contained coarse intra cytoplasmic granules yellow in colour. The lactotrophic cells were mostly located in the center of the gland. They are variable in shape, oval, rounded or elongated with eccentric vesicular nuclei and cytoplasmic glands stained orange red.

The number of basophilic cells were lesser than acidophilic ones. The cells were located mostly in the peripheral parts of pars distalis, next to hypophysical cleft and the boundaries of blood vessels. The basophiles were differentiated into gonadotrophic cells, which were more abundant than thyrotrophic cells (Table 4).

Thyrotrophic cells appeared polygonal containing coarse cytoplasmic granules stained magenta red by PAS after oxidation with performic acid and blue by Sleder stain. Gonadotrophic cells were arranged mostly at the boundaries and near by sinusoids. They were smaller in size and contain fine granules stained blue by alcian blue after oxidation with performic acid and red (LH) or purple (FSH) by PAS.

In case of cystic ovary the adenohypophysis revealed that great number of basophilic cells were stuffed with basophilic granules (purple or red by PAS). The cells appeared larger in size swollen and their nucleous were vesicular in appearance. Degranulation and vacuolization of some basophilic cells were observed. It was noticed that most of these cells were located near by blood vessels and faintly stained.

Acidophilic cells showed no significant variation in number. However many cells show homogenous eosinophilic cytoplasm and pyknotic nuclei. These cells were identified as lactotrophic cells. Adenolypophysis in case of inactive ovaries showed that the basophilic cells were smaller in size with lesser amount of basophilic granules, which was clearly seen by Slidder and PFAAB. PAS Orange G stains.

Many gonadotrophic cells (FSH and LH) were degranulated and vacuolated and some of them resemble chromophobe cells. Some of these cells appeared degenerated with pyknotic nuclei and vacuolated cytoplasm. Acidophils appeared also smaller in size with decrease in its cytoplasmic granules. The LTH cells were faint staining by acidic dye. Excessive amounts of colloid substances were observed in the acinar like structure.

In case of luteal cyst the gonadotrophic cells appeared large containing coarse basophilic granules stained purple or red. The LTH cells were also large with well distinct acidic cytoplasmic granules stained orange red, while the STH appeared large with eccentric nuclei and yellow cytoplasmic granules. The thyrotrophs appeared large with cytoplasmic bluish granules.

Concerning the count of different pituitary cells, the results are presented in Table 4.

It is clear from Table 4, that the number of gonadotrophic and thyrotrophic cells decreased in case of inactive ovaries concomitant with increase in the number of acidophils in comparison to that observed in case of active

Studies on Pituitary-Ovarian Axis in the Female Camel with Special Reference to Cystic and Inactive Ovaries


ovaries. In luteal cysts the number of gonadotrophs and thyrotrophic and lactotrophic cells increased in comparison with that of active ovaries. In case of follicular cyst the number of gonadotrophs and thyrotrophs were comparable to that of active ovaries with minimum increase in number of lactotrophic cells.


The available literature indicates the absence of any previous study on pituitary ovarian axis in female camels. However the pituitary gland of male camel and the effect of seasonal variation on pituitary -testicular axis were studied by few authors (Fahmy and Nasr, 1963; Ismail et al


The cystic ovaries were observed throughout the whole year with variable percentage varied between 10.76% in summer and 5% in autumn. Similar results were obtained in Saudi Arabia (Hegazy et al. 2001). It seems that the incidence of cystic ovaries increase in summer and autumn. It is believed that the problem of cystic ovaries is the deficiency of LH surge, which confirmed by the present results of hormonal analysis, which indicated the low level of LH in cases of cystic ovaries in comparison with that of normal cyclic ovaries.

No base line data could be traced for FSH and LH levels, while few studies were performed to determine E 2 and progesterone in pregnant and non-pregnant she-camel.

The present study revealed that the ovarian activity was observed throughout the different seasons with a maximum activity during winter, which corresponds to the breeding season. Shalash (1965), Ismail (1987) and Akral et al (1995) reported similar results in Egypt and Pakistan, respectively. In Saudi Arabia, Arthur and Al-Rahim (1982) and Arthur et al (1985) reported that breeding of she camel occurs throughout the year provided a good nutritional condition.

The incidence of inactive ovaries in the present study reached its peak in the summer, which may be responsible for the failure of conception during May, August and October as reported by Arthur et al (1985); Abdel Rahim and El Nazier (1992). This may be attributed to the higher temperature associated with adverse nutritional status of the animals during the summer season (Tibary and Anouassi, 1997).

In the present study, it was clear that in case of inactive ovaries, the activity of pituitary gland was lesser in comparison with that of active ovaries. Moreover, the FSH level in the plasma was lower than that of active ovaries which may give an explanation for the increase of the ovarian inactivity in summer.

The hormonal analysis of E 2 , progesterone, LH and FSH in case of follicular ovarian wave indicate a large individual variation. Such variation has been observed in E 2 to be between 9 and 110 pg/ml during the different follicular ovarian waves (Elias, 1984a; Xu et al. 1985). In case of pregnancy, oestrogen concentration increased progressively from basal level of 20 pg/ml at early stages of gestation to about 450 pg/ml at advanced gestation (Agarwal et al. 1987). Our results revealed that the level of E 2 - varied from 1.24 to 67.23 pg/ml with a mean value of 14.7 pg/ml.

In the present study, the progesterone level in non-pregnant female camel was between 0.0 and 4.7 ng/ml (Table 3), with a mean value of 1.11 ng/ml. Similar results were reported by Elias et al (1984); Xu et al (1985); Agarwal et al (1992), where the level of progesterone in non-pregnant female camel varied between 0.28 and 1.73 ng/ml. During pregnancy, the progesterone level fluctuated between 2 and 5 ng/ml (Hassan et al.


Also progesterone levels ranged between 1.01 and 6.34 ng/ml on day one post parturition (Zhao and Chen, 1995) then gradually decreased to reach undetectable level after 12 days.

A.A. Hegazy, A.Ali, M. Al-Eknah and S. Ismail


However a sharp decline in progesterone level during postpartum to reach the non-pregnant values within 2 weeks has been reported by Agarwal et al (1992) and Hassan et al (1996). No available data could be detected for FSH and LH levels. It was noticed that these hormones could cross-react with those of human being using ELISA technique, however, the results needs further investigation.

The hormonal level in case of cystic ovaries revealed the decrease in LH level in comparison with that of normal cyclic animal. This may give an explanation for the cystic follicle formation. The increase of E 2 and progesterone levels is considered a sequel of cyst, which may secrete progesterone or E 2 depending on the degree of granulose cells luteinization (Jubb and Kennedy,


In case of inactive ovaries, there was a decrease in FSH level, which may explain the failure of ovary to develop follicles. The decrease of FSH may be due to the increase of ovarian steroid hormones (E 2 and progesterone) as a consequence of the feedback mechanism. The increase of progesterone and E 2 levels in case of inactive ovaries can’t be explained. However, it may denote exogenous source of secretion of these hormones other than ovaries, which needs further investigation.

In case of luteal cyst, there was increase in the levels of LH, progesterone and E 2 than in case of active ovaries. This was concomitant with decrease in FSH level. The increase of E 2 may be due to growing follicles.

Previous investigations on the histological and histochemical investigation of the pituitary gland of female camel could not be traced in the available literature. The present study indicates the decrease in number of gonadotrophic cells in addition to evidence of exhausted secretion characterized by degeneration and vacuolization of gonadotrophic cells in case if inactive ovaries. This picture was associated with decrease the FSH level in the blood as well as

increase of progesterone and E 2. The low activity of the gonadotrophic cells may be due to the deficiency of gonadotrophic releasing hormone from the hypothalamus (Bonnar, 1973) and/or increase of the ovarian steroid hormones which leads to decrease the secretion of FSH by feedback mechanism. Somatotrophic cells showed no abnormalities.

In case of cystic ovaries, the gonadotrophic cells were similar in number to that of active ovaries, while the cells appeared overfilled with basophilic granules. The hormonal analysis revealed high E 2 and progesterone levels, which inhibit the secretion of FSH by feedback mechanism and in turn the accumulation of the granules in the gonadotrophic cells. The acidophilic cells either the lactotrophic or somatotrophic cells appeared comparable in number to active ovaries while increase accumulation of the acidic granules in LTH cells.

In case of the luteal cyst, the pituitary gland showed that the gonadotrophic cells as well as the lactotrophic cells were filled with basophilic and acidophilic granules, respectively.


I t could be concluded that:

1. The maximum ovarian activity occurs in winter.

2. The maximum ovaries inactivity occurs in summer.

3. Cystic ovaries observed all over the year with tendency to be increased in summer and autumn.

4. There is a great demand to establish a base line data for the hormonal level during the different phases.

5. The pituitary glands showed inactivity in association with inactive ovary and it may be the cause of this condition during summer season.

Studies on Pituitary-Ovarian Axis in the Female Camel with Special Reference to Cystic and Inactive Ovaries


6. Deficiency of LH surge may be considered the main cause of cystic ovaries and the changes of the pituitary are related to the feedback mechanism from the high levels of the ovarian steroids.


Abdel Rahim, S. E. A. and A. T. El Nazier. 1992. Study on the sexual behavior of the dromedary camel. Proc.1st Int. Camel Conf. February, 1992, Dubai.

Arthur, G. H., A. T.Rahim, and A. S. El-Hindi. 1985. Reproduction and genital disease of the camel. Br. Vet. J., 141: 650-659.

Bonnar. J. 1973. The hypothalamus and

reproductive function In: R. B. Scott and R. M. Walker (eds.). The Medical Annual. Bristol (England): J. Wright and Sons, 251-


Daughandy, W. H. 1985. The adenohypophysis. In: J. D.Wilson, and D.W. Foster (eds). Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 80-83 Philadelphia, Saunders.

Adams, C. W. M. 1956. The PFAAB, PAS, Orange G method for the human hypophysis. Cited by Carleton‘s histological technique, 4th edition, Oxford Univ. Press, New York, Toronto.

Agarwal, S. P, N. D.Khanna, V. K. Agarwal, and P. K. Dwaraknath. 1987. Circulating level of estrogen and progesterone in female camel (Camelus dromedarius) during pregnancy. Theriogenology, 28: 849-859.

Agarwal, S. P., A. K Rai and N. D.Khanna.


female camel and their neonates. Theriogenology, 38: 735 –747.





Akral, N., and N. D. Khanna. 1995. Ovarian activity during breeding season in Indian camel. J. Anim. Sci., 65: 889-890.

Al-Eknah, M. M., E. A. Dafallah, A. M. Homeida, A. K. A.Galil and A. Y. Al- Taher. 1993. Spontaneous uterine activity during the estrus cycle of the camel (Camelus dromedarius). Anim. Reprod. Sci., 32: 91-97.

Arthur, G. H., and A. T. Al-Rahim. 1982. Aspects of reproduction in the female camel (Camelus dromedarius) in Saudi Arabia. Vet. Med. Rev., 5: 83-88.

Elias, E., E. Bedrak and R.Yagil. 1984a. Peripheral blood level of progesterone in female camel during various reproductive stages. Gen. Comp. Endo., 53: 235-240.

Elias, E., E. Bedrak, and R. Yagil. 1984b. Estradiol concentration in the serum of the one humped camel (Camelus dromedarius) during the various reproductive stages. Gen. Comp. Endo., 56: 258-264.

El-Wishy, A. B., and N. A. Hemeida. 1984. Estrogen and progesterone levels in the blood of pregnant and non pregnant camels (Camelus dromedarius). J. Mri., 5: 39-49.




Morphological study of the pituitary gland





of the





dromedarius), 4th Cairo, Egypt.




Franchimont, P. 1973. Human gondosecretion in male subjects. In James VHT, Serio M and Martini L, The endocrine function of human testis 439-458.New York, Academic Press.

Halmi. N. S. 1952. Two types of basophils in rat pituitaries. "Thyrotrophs and gonadotrophs beta and delta cells" Endocrinology, 50:


A.A. Hegazy, A.Ali, M. Al-Eknah and S. Ismail


Harris, H. F. 1898. J. Apl. Micr.3: 777 Cited by Carleton ‘s histological technique 4th edition Oxford Univ. Press, New York, Toronto.

Hassan, M. S., I. M. Ghoniem, D. Kariman, and A. Hassanin. 1996. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum period in camels 8 th Ann. Conf. Egypt. Soc. Anim. Reprod. Fert. January,1996, Cairo, Egypt.

Musa, B. E.,


Hago, M. J. Cooper, W. R. Allen, and W. Jochle. 1993. Manipulation of the reproductive function in male and female

camels. Anim. Reprod. Sci., 33: 289-306.


Sieme, H. Merkt, B. E.

Musa, B. E., and M. E. Abu-Sineina. 1976. Some observation on the reproduction in the female camel (Camelus dromedarius). Acta Vet. Yugosl., 26: 63-69.

Hegazy, A., M. Al-Eknah, M. H. R. Kotb, N. Hemeida, and B. Serur. 2001.Pathological and microbiological studies on the reproductive tract of the female camel. J. Egypt.Vet. Med Assoc., (61) 4: 9-25.

Ismail, S. T., N. A. Hemeida, M. H. Kandil, A. B. El-wishy, and Y. M. Shahein. 1985. Histology and histochemistry of the pars distalis of the pituitary of the one-humped male camel (Camelus dromedarius). J. Egypt.Vet. Med. Ass., 45,1: 127-137.

Ismail, S. T. 1987. A review of reproduction in the female camel (Camelus dromedarius). Theriogenology, 28: 363-371.

Jubb, K. V. F. and P. C. Kennedy. 1993. Pathology of domestic animals, vol 111. The female genital system. 3rd edition Academic Press New York.

Kandil, M. H. 1975. Histologicaland histochemical studies of the adenohy- pophysis of the buffalo with special reference to the changes in the estrus cycle.

Ph.D. Thesis Faculty of Vet. Med. Cairo Univ. Egypt. Table 1. The incidence of ovarian changes in different seasons.

Slidder, W. 1961. Orange-Fuchsin-Green method for staining the adenohypophysis. J. Path. Bact., 82: 532-534.



Theriogenology of camelidae. Abu-Dhabi Printing and Publishing Company, UAE.





Xu, Y. S., H. Y. Wang. G. Q. Zeng, G. T. Jaing, and Y.H. Gao. 1985. Hormone concentration before and after semen induced ovulation in the bactrian camel (Camelus dromedarius). J. Reprod .Fert. ,74:


Shalash, M. R. 1965. Some reproductive aspects in the female camel. Vet. Int. Cong. In Anim. Reprod., 2: 263-273.

Zhao, X. X. and B. X. Chen. 1995. Peripheral endocrine changes in camel (Camelus bactrianus). J. Camel Practice Res., 2 (2)


Ovarian Picture














Follicular wave









Cystic ovary:




















Inactive ovaries


















P/S = Percentage per season.

Studies on Pituitary-Ovarian Axis in the Female Camel with Special Reference to Cystic and Inactive Ovaries


Table 2. The incidence of ovarian changes among examined cases per year (January – December


Ovarian Picture







Ovarian follicular activity







Cystic ovary:


A. Follicular







B. Luteal







Inactive ovary







Table 3. Mean values of the FSH, LH, E 2 and progesterone in different ovarian changes.


Active ovaries

Inactive ovaries

Follicular cystic ovaries

Luteal cyst







– 1.2


- 0.01


– 0.15


– 0.22








0.0– 0.32


– 0.55


– 0.08

0.3 – 0.19







– 4.7


– 21.4


– 10.3


– 3.4








1.24– 67.23

24.7– 117.0


– 64.2


– 41.9

Table 4. The percentage of different cells in the pituitary in different ovarian status.

Ovarian Status



Chromo phobs



























Cystic ovaries








Luteal cyst








STH : Somatotrophic cells LTH: Lactotrophic cells GT: Gonadotrophic cells TH: Thyrotrophic cells

A.A. Hegazy, A.Ali, M. Al-Eknah and S. Ismail


A.A. Hegazy, A.Ali, M. Al-Eknah and S. Ismail 24 Fig. 1. Fig. 2. Fig. 3. J.

Fig. 1.

A.A. Hegazy, A.Ali, M. Al-Eknah and S. Ismail 24 Fig. 1. Fig. 2. Fig. 3. J.

Fig. 2.

A.A. Hegazy, A.Ali, M. Al-Eknah and S. Ismail 24 Fig. 1. Fig. 2. Fig. 3. J.

Fig. 3.

Physical and Biochemical Attributes of Camel Semen

V. K. Agarwal 1 , L. Ram 2 , A. K. Rai 3 , N. D. Khanna 4 and S. P. Agarwal 5

1,2&5 Dept. of Vet. Physiology. Haryana Agr. Univ. Hisar-125005 India 3 & 4 National Research Center on Camel. Bijaner, India


Six adult male camels (Camelus dromedarius) were used during breeding season (Nov. to Feb.) for quantitative assessment of physical and biochemical attributes of semen. Six observations on each camel bull were recorded at weekly intervals.

Data revealed considerable animal to animal and week to week variations with regard to seminal attributes. The percentage of creamy white, milkly white and white colour of seminal ejaculate was found to be 44, 36 and 20%, respectively, whereas the values for thick viscid, thick and watery consistency of semen were 50, 39 and 11%, respectively. The average volume/ ejaculate, pH and sperm concentration was found to be 6.7 ± 0.03 ml, 7.3 ± 0.03 and 566.4 ± 19.4 millions/ml, respectively. The sperm concentration gradually increased on successive weekly collections. Paradoxically, no motility was observed.

In seminal plasma, the mean concentration of fructose, glucose, cholesterol, total proteins and citric acid were found to be 479.5 ± 19.1, 4.41 ± 0.28, 19.46 ± 0.72, 920 ± 114 and 36.26 ± 1.16 mg/dl, respectively. The mean concentration of sodium and potassium was 158.6 ± 1.6 and 16.68 ± 0.72 meg/L, respectively. All these constituents except protein and potassium varied significantly among the bulls. The levels of fructose, cholesterol and citric acid showed a rising trend from 1 st to 6 th week.

The results provided normal values for camel semen characteristics as a step forward to attempt semen dilution and preservation for artificial insemination to improve reproduction and production in camel. However, absence of sperm motility remains an enigma to be investigated.

(Key Words: Camel, Dromedary, Semen Characteristics).


India has variable geoclimatic conditions and the distribution of camel is mainly localized in arid and semi-arid zone of Rajasthan followed by Hariana and Gujarat. There are no organized camel farms in public or private sector, except the one located in Bikaner. This appears to be the main hindrance in persuing scientific studies in this species. While artificial insemination has revolutionized the breeding programme in other

domestic animals, came is still deprived of this important tool as the studies on camel semen are limited (Khan and Kohli, 1972; Chen and Yuen, 1979). In this study an attempt was made to evaluate the camel semen for certain physical and biochemical attributes.

Materials and Methods

The study was conducted on six adult single humped male camels (Camelus dromedarius) of Bikaner breed belonging to the National

V. K. Agarwal, L. Ram, A. K. Rai, N. D. Khanna and S. P. Agarwal


Research Center on Camel, Bikaner. The animals were apparently healthy and were maintained under standard conditions of feeding and management. They were also watered twice daily and allowed to go for browsing from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. The study was conducted during rutting season extending from Nov. to Feb. Semen was collected in artificial vagina used for cattle over a she-camel secured in sitting position. From each animal, six collections were made at weekly interval for six weeks. Immediately after collection, the semen was evaluated for various physical characters like colour, consistency, volume, pH, sperm concentration, percentage of live spermatozoa and motility using standard techniques as described by Salisbury et al (1978). The biochemical constituents were determined in seminal plasma which was obtained by centrifugation of semen in the cold. Among biochemical constituents, fructose was estimated by the method of Mann (1948); glucose by using spinchem’s Beckaman computerized analyzer, cholesterol and total proteins by using clinical kits supplied by J. Mitra and Brothers Private Limited, New Delhi; and Citric acid by following the procedure of Taussky (1949). The electrolytes determined included sodium (Wooten, 1964) and potassium (Merck and Darm-stadt, 1964). Data were statistically analyzed by analysis of variance using Micro-32 computer in the Department. Of Mathematics and Statistics, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India.

Results and Discussion

Colour and Consistency The colour and consistency of semen varied from camel to camel and ejaculate to ejaculate of the same animal. Coagulum was not always present in the semen. In general, 44% of the semen samples were creamy white, 36% milky white and 20% white in colour. Similarly, 50% of the total samples had thick viscid consistency, 39% thick and 11% thin watery consistency (Table 1). Other workers (Khan and Kohli, 1973; Chen and Yuen, 1979) have reported camel semen to be white or milky white in

colour with thick viscid consistency. However, the frequency distribution of different colours and consistencies was not reported.

Volume There existed considerable variations in the ejaculate volume between camels and between ejaculates (Fig. 1). The average volume in this study was found to be 6.74 ± 0.03 ml with a range of 5.5 to 9.2 ml per ejaculate. Khan and Kohli (1972) reported a still wider range varying from 1 to 10 ml with an average of 3.1 ml per ejaculate. Chen and Yuen (1979) found the average seminal volume of 7.7 ml per ejaculate in Bactrian camel. It was observed that the volume and the percentage of live spermatozoa progressively improved on successive collection at weekly intervals (Fig. 1). Probably, the sexual stimulation may be the cause behind this improvement.

PH The seminal pH was fairly constant between various seminal ejaculates within a narrow range of 7.2 to 7.4 (Fig. 1). Close to these findings, an average pH of 7.0 has been reported by Khan and Kohli (1972). Similarly, Chen and Yuen (1979) found an average pH of 7.0 with a range of 6.8 to 7.4. The buffering capacity of seminal plasma of camel semen seems to be fairly good to resist wide variations in different ejaculates at different occasions.

Mass Motility All the semen samples were examined for mass motility, but no motility was observed in any of the samples (Fig.1). Keeping in view the role of temperature and sugar, the slide was warmed at 37 ºC on a thermostatic movable stage microscope and a small pinch of pure glucose or fructose was added to semen but no success was achieved.

In this study, neither mass motility nor progressive motility of spermatozoa was observed. In general, poor initial motility of spermatozoa in camel semen has been reported. Khan and Kohli (1973) in their subjective grading of camel semen found the mass motility vary from 0 to . Supporting our observations,

Physical and Biochemical Attributes of Camel Semen


these workers also reported that initial motility up to third ejaculation was zero or just oscillating movements were present but gradual improvement was recorded after third ejaculation. The factors inhibiting or arresting motility in camel semen need to be identified so that proper evaluation of the semen may be carried out.

Sperm Concentration The overall sperm concentration was found to be 566.38 ± 19.46 with a range of 521.16 ± 129.42 to 585.83 ± 172.05 millions/ ml semen. The concentrations were not significantly different among camels except for one animal (No. 59) in which it was significantly higher (Fig.1). The sperm concentration in semen samples collected at weekly intervals varied from 420.0 ± 59.5 to 654 ± 132.7 millions/ml with a progressive tendency (Fig.1) . Khan and Kohli (1972) reported a lower concentration of 189 millions/ml in the semen of Bikaneri camel. On the other hand, Chen and Yuen (1979) found the sperm concentration in the Bactrian camel as high as 615 millions/ml with a range of 220 to 1250 millions/ml. The sperm concentration in the semen is affected by multitude of factors such as virility of the bull, frequency of services, season of the year and the intensity of sexual excitement. Some of these factors might have been responsible for the disparity in the findings of this investigation and those of other workers.

Fructose The fructose concentration in seminal plasma of camel was found to vary from 360 to 621 mg/dl (Fig.2). The concentration varied significantly (P<0.01) among different camels. The presence of fructose in the semen of a large number of species have been reported by Mann (1974), but it lacks the mention of camel and also there is a wide variation between various species ranging from highest value of 1000 mg/dl in the bull and buck to a value less than 50 mg/dl in the boar. Stallion semen has been reported to be extremely poor in fructose concentration and this constituent found are lower than those in cattle and buffaloes. Higher fructose level in

camel semen have been reported by El-Manna et al (1986). The fructose originates in the male accessory glands particularly the seminal vesicles which are absent in camel. This may be one of the contributing factors to the low value of fructose as compared to cattle and buffaloes.

Glucose In addition to fructose, glucose in seminal plasma was also found in concentrations between 3.1 and 6.5 mg/dl with significant differences between bulls (Fig. 2). Although, most of the domestic animals contain fructose as the principal sugar, there are species in which glucose is also present in the semen e.g. rabbit semen contains an appreciable amount of glucose in addition to fructose (Mann and Parsons, 1950). Stallion semen which is poor in fructose also contains a small quantity of glucose (Mann, 1964a). It seems that in camel, like other species, glucose is the principal sugar which is concerted into fructose either by phosphorylated pathway or by monophospho sphorylated pathway such as sorbitol dehydrogenase and addose reductase. It is likely that a small fraction of glucose passed out into the grandular secretion and thus appears in the semen. The nutritive role of glucose for the energy of spermatozoa is not known but might be serving as an alternative source of energy for spermatozoa particularly under critical circumstances.

Cholesterol The cholesterol levels varied significantly between camels with lowest and highest mean values of 15.3 mg/dl and 25.9 mg/dl respectively with an overall average for 19.5 mg.dl (Fig. 2). There was also week to week variation as the concentration increased in ascending order from the lowest value of 16.9 mg/dl in the first week to 21.0 mg/dl in the sixth week of collection (Fig. 2). Cholesterol is an important constituent in forming reasonably permeable and comprehensive membrane structure which withstands environmental stress (Tria and Scanu, 1969). The cholesterol value

V. K. Agarwal, L. Ram, A. K. Rai, N. D. Khanna and S. P. Agarwal


reported in this study are lower than those reported in cattle and buffalos (Iqbal et al. 1984). The lower concentration of cholesterol may be one of the reasons that camel spermatozoa are very susceptible to environmental changes. It may also be the reason for poor preservability of camel semen.

Total Proteins The total protein levels in seminal plasma of camel were found to vary from 0.51 to 1.35 gm/dl in different camel bulls with an overall average of 0.92 ± 0.11 gm/dl (Fig. 2). However, animal to animal variation was not statistically significant. Protein and non-protein nitrogenous compounds are the normal constituents of seminal plasma. A vast variation in the concentration of biuret reacting material has been reported in different species of animals. It is least in fowl measuring about 0.8 to 0.9 gm/dl with increasing value in dog, ram, man and bull (Wales et al. 1961). The main function of proteins appears to be that of maintaining osmolarity of the seminal plasma and to maintain pH by their buffering action.

Citric Acid The citric acid concentration in seminal plasma of different camels varied between 23.4 mg/dl and 41.0 mg/dl. The over mean was 36.20 ± 16 mg/dl (Fig. 2). The levels were somewhat low in the first week of collection followed by an increasing trend till sixth week (Fig. 2). The statistical analysis showed significant differences between animals as well as between weeks (P<0.01). The citric acid concentration in camel is evidently much lower than those in bulls (510-1100 mg/dl), boars and rams (130- 200 mg/dl) and stallallions (110-260 mg%) indicating vast species differences. However; these value are closer to those of Polworth ram in which the concentration in the range of 47 to 59 mg/dl has been reported (Gonalez and Neues, 1984). The exact physiological role of citric acid in the semen is not known as it does not influence markedly the aerobic and anaerobic metabolism of spermatozoa (Humphery and Mann, 1949). It has been suggested that citric acid is connected with coagulation and

liquefaction of semen and also with calcium binding capacity of seminal plasma (Huggins, 1945). Lundquist (1947) suggested that citrate may act as an activator of the prostatic acid phosphatase. Another significance of citric acid has been shown to be in the maintenance of osmotic equilibrium in semen with sodium and potassium ions.

Sodium and Potassium The sodium contents in camels semen were found to vary within a range of 153 to 168 mg/L with significant differences between camels bull (Fig. 2), However, value were not different significantly between ejaculates collected during different weeks, These values are comparable with those found in man but lower than boar and higher than bull, ram and equine semen (Mann, 1967, 1964b, 1971). The potassium content inc amel semen was around 15 to 20 meg/l amongst different camel bulls and on different occasions of semen collection. The values are in close proximity with those of station, ram and man but lower than those of bull and boar (Mann, 1963, 1964b, 1971). It may be observed that concentration of sodium and potassium is similar to those found in blood plasma and seems to serve the same function of a maintaining electrolyte equilibrium between sperm cells and surrounding media. In addition, they also develop proper osmolarity of the seminal plasma to provide the proper environment for the integrity and survival of sperm cells.


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Physical and Biochemical Attributes of Camel Semen


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Mann, T. and U. Parsons. 1950. Studies on the metabolism of semen, Role of hormones, Effect of castration, Hypophysectomy and diabetes. Relation between blood glucose and seminal fructose. Biochem. J., 46: 440-


Merck, E., and A.G. Darmstadt. 1964. Chemical Methods of Medical Investigation. 61 pp.

Salisbury, G.W., N.L. Van Demark, and J.R. Lodge. 1978. Physiology of reproduction and artificial insemination of cattle. 2 nd edn. Freemen and Company, San Francisco, U.S.A.

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Tria, E., and A.M. Scanu. 1969. Structure and fundamental aspects of lipoproteins in living systems. Academic Press, London. 661 pp.

Wales, R.G., T.W. Scott., and I.G. White. 1961. Biuret reactive materials in semen. Aust. J. Expt. Biol. Med. Sci., 39: 455-461.

Wootton, I.D.P. 1964. Micro-analysis in Medical Biochemistry 4 th edn. J.A. Churchill Ltd. 10 Gloucester Place, London.

V. K. Agarwal, L. Ram, A. K. Rai, N. D. Khanna and S. P. Agarwal


Table 1. Frequency of colour and consistency variations in camel semen.

Camel No.

No. of







Milky White

Creamy White

Thin Watery


Thick Viscid

























































13(36%) 16(44%) 4(11.1%) 14(38%) 18(50%) Fig. 1. Mean values of physical characteristics of camel

Fig. 1. Mean values of physical characteristics of camel bull semen.

Mean values of physical characteristics of camel bull semen. Fig. 2. Mean values of biochemical constituents

Fig. 2. Mean values of biochemical constituents in camel bull semen.

Effect of Different Extenders on Motility Survival and Acrosomal Integrity of Camel Spermatozoa Frozen in Ampoules

X.X. Zhao, Y.M. Huang, Q.C. Nie, Y.K. Zhang and B.X. Chen

Dept. of Veterinary Medicine, Gansu Agricultural University Lanzhou, Gansu 730070 and Anxi Veterinary Service Station Anxi Gansu 736100 People's Republic of China


Split samples from the ejaculates of seven male bactrian camels with proven fertility were tested with eight different extenders used for farm animals. Semen was frozen in 2.0 ml glass ampoules in liquid nitrogen vapour and thawed in a water bath of 45-50 ºC and incubated at 37 ºC and 4 ºC to evaluate the percentage of motile spermatozoa (% mot) percentage of total spermatozoa with intact acrosome (PlA) and percentage of spermatozoa with intact health acrosome (PlHA) after 0, 1, 3 and 5h of incubation at 37 ºC. The initial motility of camel semen was 81.86 ± 2.34, and the percentages of intact acrosomes and intact healthy acrosome were 91.85 ± 2.49 and 76.71± 2.90. Differences were significant among the extenders for all the parameters and the extender SYG-2 was found to be superior to other extenders.

(Key Words: Bactrian Camel, Semen, Cryopreservation, Extenders).


Successful artificial insemination with deep- frozen semen in cattle by Pole and Rowson (1952) gave a new horizon in animal industry resulting in widespread use of this technique for rapid genetic improvement, disease control and economic aspects. This revolutionary biotechnique has since been used in various domestic species with variable degrees of success. In Camelidae, it has not met with the same success as in cattle. Thus there is a need to evolve suitable semen freezing and handling techniques consistent with attainment of an acceptable level of fertility through Al in this species.

Reports on processing of camel semen using different extenders, glycerol levels, equilibration and freezing times are available (Chen et al. 1990). Earlier we have found that extender SYG- 2 was superior to other extenders and a high

fertility was achieved using it (Zhao et al. 1991). However information is laking on the sperm behaviour patterns in different extenders. The objective of the present work was to study the comparative efficiency of eight ampoule freezing extenders on post-thawing motility, survival and acrosomal integrity of spermatozoa of bactrian camel.

Materials and Methods

Collection of Semen Seven healthy bactrian camels of 5 to 15 years of age maintained as natural service sires were used in the present study. All the camels were year- round grazing and located in the desert area with the altitude of 1400 to 1700 meters. The lowest and the highest temperature of the area in January and in July were -10 to –20 ºC, respectively. During the experiment, the camels were fed individually with hay, supplemented with concentrates (2.5 kg/day). Semen was collected

X.X. Zhao, Y.M. Huang, Q.C. Nie, Y.K. Zhang and B.X. Chen


once every other day using an artificial vagina of bull type (41 to 42 ºC). After recording the physical characteristics (volume, colour, consistency and pH), the semen was evaluated for mass activity, percent motile spermatozoa and sperm concentration. Split ejaculates from each camel were used to determine the best conditions for the cryopreservation of semen.

Extension, Cryopreservation and Thawing of Semen All extenders used in the study were summarized in Table 1. Split semen samples with similar original motility were extended in a bath at 37ºC and gradually cooled to 4 ºC (37 ºC for 0.5h, 4 ºC for 4h), packaged in 2.0 ml ampoules (equilibrated for a further 10 mins for SYG-2 extended semen) and frozen.

The freezing steps are shown in Table 2. Freezing was done by arranging a wire frame with a cooperating in a casket, which was filled with liquid nitrogen. The ampoules were put on the netting which could be adjusted to three different levels above the nitrogen vapour.

Ampoules were thawed in water bath at 45 to 50 ºC. Each sample was evaluated for percentage or progressively motile spermatozoa (%MOT)

immediately after thawing and at hourly intervals

of incubation at 37 ºC and 4 ºC, respectively until

no sperm remained motile (post-thawing sperm survival at 37 ºC and 4 ºC). The percentage of spermatozoa with intact acrosome (PIA) and the percentage intact health acrosome (PIHA) were estimated after 0,1,3 and 5 hours of incubation from fixed smears stained with Giemsa stain. The

PIA were the total sperm with intact apical ridges, while PlHA were the PlA without showing signs

of acrosomal damage. Samples were evaluated by

a single observer and were coded to minimise

observe bias. Absolute index of post-thaw sperm survival at 37 ºC and 4 ºC was constructed using the formula of Miloevaanof (1962) Ia= (TxR).


Ia = absolute index of survival.

T = time interval between motility evaluation

R =

average of every two consecutive motility Evaluations

A randomized block design was used and the

overall evaluation means of each variable were analysed after arc sine transformation by analysis

of variance (Snedecor and Cochram, 1980).


The average seminal volume for 105 ejaculates from seven bull camels was 4.71 ± 1.98 ml with 81.86 ± 2.34% motility and 5.82 ± 0.92x10 sperm/ml. The percentage of intact acrosome and percentage of intact health acrosome were 91.85 ± 2.49 and 78.71 ± 2.29, respectively.

Summary tables of effect of different extenders on

% MOT immediately post-thaw and at hourly

interval for 5 h and 8 h of incubation at 37 ºC and

4 ºC, respectively, post-thaw sperm survival at 37

ºC and 4 ºC and absolute index of sperm survival

were presented in Tables 3, 5 and on PIA and

PLHA in Table 4.

The results showed that the highest rating of % MOT, post thaw sperm survival at 37 ºC and 4 ºC and the absolute index of sperm survival at 37 ºC and 4 ºC were obtained by using extender SYG-2.

Extenders different for % MOT, at 0h (P<0.05), hourly evaluation and overall means (p<0.01), post-thaw sperm survival at 37 ºC and 4 ºC (all p<0.01) and absolute index of sperm survival (all


The acrosomal integrity (percentage of

spermatozoa with intact acrosomes after 0,1,3, and

5 h of incubation at 37 ºC) was also higher for the extension of extender SYG-2. The incidence of acrosomal injuries following freezing varied among extenders, but for SYG-2, it was the lowest.


The scores obtained in this study with different extenders proved that extender SYG-2 was

Effect of Different Extenders on Motility Survival and Acrosomal Integrity of Camel Spermatozoa Frozen in Ampoules


suitable for the routine cryopreservation of camel semen. SYG-2 was found to be the best with respect of improved motility and survival, and acorsomal integrity as compared to other extenders.

The first published work on deep-frozen preservation of the sperm of camelidae dates to the late 1970s (Graham and Schemehl, 1978) using zoo camels and electroejaculated semen frozen in pellets. The results achieved however, were unsatisfactory. A series of experiments with bactrian camel semen was carried out in the author's laboratory (Chen et al. 1990; Zhao et al. 1991), the extender SYG-2 was successfully used for cryopreservation and insemination of 104 camels with a conception rate of 96.22% which was 30% higher than that in natural mating. The results confirmed that semen in ampoules diluted extender SYG-2 is suitable for freezing and might be used for routine artificial insemination work.

Glycerol is used almost universally as the cryoprotective agent for freezing semen. The amount and the method of adding glycerol vary. Depending upon the extenders, freezing methods species and the recipes developed by individual laboratory. In the present study the best sperm behaviour pattern was achieved when glycerol was added just before freezing with the final amount of 7% in extender SYG-2, our observations were in agreement with the previous fertility trials. However, much more detailed studies on the response of camel semen to deep- freezing such as ultrastructure changes and differences among bulls, remain to be studied.


This research was supported partially by the In- ternational Foundation for Science, Stockholm (Grant B/1725-1) and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna (Research Contract
















Butterworth, Sydney.

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X.X. Zhao, Y.M. Huang, Q.C. Nie, Y.K. Zhang and B.X. Chen


Table 1. The composition of the extenders used in the studies.






12% sucrose


Sun et al (1990)









12% sucrose


Zhao et al (1991)
















Tris-bull extender



Rodriguez et al (1989)


17.0 g


citric acid monohydrate



distilled water to