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Killer Whale

Killer Whale
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Orcinus orca
The Killer Whale or Orca (Orcinus orca) is the largest member of the dolphin family (order Cetacea, subfamily Delphinidae) and a versatile predator. It is also called the Great Killer Whale, Grampus, and Sword Whale.

The animals are characteristically colored, with a black back, white chest and sides and a white patch above and behind the eye. They have a heavy and stocky body and a large dorsal fin[?]. Males can be up to 9.5 metres long and weigh as much as 10 tonnes; females are smaller, reaching 8.5 metres at most and a weight of 7 or 8 tons. Calves at birth weight about 180 kilos and are about 2.4 metres long. At about 1.8m the dorsal fin of the male is taller than the female's, and more upright. From a distance, females and juveniles can be confused with various dolphin and porpoise species.

Most live in the polar regions but they are found in all seas including the Mediterranean and Arabian Sea. At sea they are usually seen in pods of 5-25 whales, although groups of up to 150 have been seen together.

The Orca's diet depends entirely on availability, although pods can specialize and thus ignore potential prey. It is believed they require around 60kg of food daily. Their prey includes twenty species of cetaceans, five species of pinniped (seals), thirty species of fish, seven species of bird and two species of squid, in addition to a variety of other sea creatures, occasionally including larger whales such as Fin Whales, Minke Whales[?], Gray Whales, or even young Blue Whales. It is from their attacks on other whales that they gained their name; they do not attack humans.

Man is their only predator. They are considered to be too small for commercial whaling, but they are sometimes killed because they compete with humans for fish. In recent years, the Orca's intelligence, trainability, and striking appearance have made it an extremely popular public aquarium or zoo attraction.

Orcinus orca

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