Phenotypic variability and typology of cavy (Cavia porcellus) production in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Ayagirwe Rodrigue Basengere Balthazar, Meutchieye Felix, Yannick Mugumaarhahama, Valence Mutwedu, Patrick Baenyi, Yacouba Manjeli


Domestic cavies (Cavia porcellus L.) are one of the mini livestock used in Sub-Saharan Africa to improve food and nutrition security, and also income generation. In DRC, these animals are part of ‘rehabilitation kits’ for humanitarian organizations and because they are included in the agricultural portfolio of development agencies that seek to address the challenges of widespread hunger and malnutrition in destabilized eastern regions. This study was carried out to assess the phenotypic diversity of cavies reared in DRC as well as their typology and identify the major parameters that could be used for breeding purposes. A total of 1,250 animals were characterized based on qualitative (coat color pattern, eyes color, satin of the coat and coat color variegation, the head shape and ears orientation) and quantitative traits (animal weight, animal length, head length, body length, heart girth, and the animal height). Main results indicated a body weight ranging from 300 to 1,203g at maturity and a total animal length from 20 to 38.5 cm. Three main coat colors patterns were identified (white, brown and black) from which derived several combinations, the most common combination being white-brown-black (43.09%) or the brown-white (23.98%). Three clusters were identified from the typology results, and differed essentially by the animal length, body length, body weight and head length, coat color pattern, eyes color, coat color variegation, head profile and the animal origin. These results indicate a first step in the decision making and orientation of the genetic improvement in this promising species


Biodiversity; Cavia porcellus; diversity; domestic cavy; morphometrics; phenotype

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