I'm an art student in need of a little help. I'm looking for microscopic pictures of camel's red blood cells, I need their shape for an art project.

The pictures I find on Google seem a little sketchy as in "is it reeeeeally camel blood or is it from some other animal?" kind of sketchy.

I have tried looking further on the net and in books, but without any luck so far. I hope there is someone out there who can help, thanks for reading anyway!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do you expect a camel red blood cell to have a drastically different shape than the red blood cells of other mammals? Why don't you just consider any picture of red blood cell? $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Oct 16 '17 at 21:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Remi.b They do indeed (as other Camelidae as well). $\endgroup$
    – user24284
    Oct 17 '17 at 0:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Instead of using the answer section for comments, please do this in the comments. You can always comment on your own questions. If the answers suits you, it would also be nice if you would accept it. This brings some extra reputation to the person who wrote it and is a thank you. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Oct 17 '17 at 18:51

Unlike humans and most of mammals, which have a biconcave (or "doughnut shaped") RBC, camels have oval shaped (or elliptical) erythrocytes.

The very first result in Google shows this:

Camel erythrocytes compared to human

That feature (which protects them from dehydration) is not unique to camels, but occurs in other Camelidae as well. This is an image of Llama blood:

Llama erythrocytes

Those are reliable sources of images (optical microscopy) of real cells.

However, for your project, I believe a scanning electron micrograph can better show the shape.

This is an SEM of elliptical camel (a) and alpaca, another Camelidae (b and c), erythrocytes:

Camelidae erythrocytes

For comparison, this is the biconcave human erythrocyte:

Human erythrocytes

PS: There is this misinformation that camels' erythrocytes are nucleate. You can read this in several web pages. I have no idea who made this up, or why people keep sharing this wrong information: camels, like any mammal, have anucleate erythrocytes. See the post Do camels have nucleated RBCs or enucleated RBCs? for more information.

EDIT: The way your question is worded it really seems that you're just asking about the reliability of those sources. However, according to your comment below, it seems that you are indeed looking for better images. It's hard finding better ones than those indexed by Google, but since your goal is modelling those cells, here are two papers (about a protozoan parasite of camelids) which has some SEM that may suit you. The images are not high-resolution, but the cells are shown in several angles:

In both papers the SEMs are at the bottom (just skip the optical ones, they are not good).

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Wow I did not expect that! +1 Do you know why an ovale shape reduces water loss? They all "swim" in plasma anyway, it is unintuitive to me that the shape would matter at all. Do you know if the hemoglobin is the same? Would be great to come up with a reference for the claim that camels [..] have anucleate erythrocytes so that we know who to believe. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Oct 17 '17 at 0:07
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I believe hemoglobin is the same, 2*alpha + 2*beta. I'll check this anyway. The elliptical shape doesn't reduce the water loss, but makes the cells better suited for a "thicker" blood (when the blood as a whole looses water). $\endgroup$
    – user24284
    Oct 17 '17 at 0:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ah it all makes sense. We actually already had a post on Biology.SE about the question of whether camels have nucleated RBC. I edited your answer to add it. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Oct 17 '17 at 0:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes this is really interesting. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Oct 17 '17 at 1:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @canadianer thanks for editing my broken English, I really appreciate that. I just changed the family (Camelidae) back to normal font, we cannot italicise taxa other than species and genus. $\endgroup$
    – user24284
    Oct 17 '17 at 7:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.