MorphologyRead full entry
Dromedary camels are characterized by a long-curved neck, deep-narrow chest, and a single hump. The hump is composed of fat bound together by fibrous tissue, acting as food storage in times of need. The size of the hump varies with the nutritional status of the camel, becoming smaller and leaning to one side during times of starvation. The lips of dromedary camels are thickened to allow consumption of coarse, thorny plants. Dromedaries are typically caramel brown or sandy brown in color, however, coloration can range from almost black to nearly white. Hair length is longer on the throat, shoulder, and hump areas. The feet of dromedaries are pad-shaped and adapted for traveling on sand. They can be easily injured on sharp stones and are unsuitable for slippery or muddy conditions. Male dromedaries, in comparison to females, are about 10% heavier, weighing 400-600 kg, and are about 10 cm taller at shoulder height, measuring 1.8-2.0 m. Additionally, male dromedaries have an inflatable soft palate which is used to attract females. Dromedary camels have a total of 34 teeth, with a dental formula of 1/3; 1/1; 3/2; 3/3. (Kohler-Rollefson 1991)
Dromedary camels have remarkable adaptations for their desert lifestyle. Their eyes are protected from blowing sand and dust by a double row of eyelashes. Additionally, at the onset of a sandstorm, these camels have the ability to close their nostrils to prevent sand from entering (Phoenix Zoo 1995). Dromedary camels are able to conserve water in a variety of ways. Water is conserved by the camel's ability to fluctuate its body temperature throughout the day from 34 degrees Celsius to 41.7 degrees Celsius. This fluctuation in body temperature allows the camel to conserve water by not sweating as the external temperature rises. Groups of camels also avoid excess heat from the environment by pressing against each other. Dromedary camels can tolerate greater that 30% water loss, a condition which is lethal for most other mammals at 15%. Water is expended primarily from interstitial and intracellular bodily fluids. Furthermore, dromedary camels can rehydrate quickly, being capable of drinking 100 L of water in just 10 minutes, a feat which would be lethal to any other mammals. (Schmidt-Nielsen 1979, Schmidt-Nielsen et al 1956)
Range mass: 300 to 690 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; sexes shaped differently
Average basal metabolic rate: 224.779 W.