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Killer whale

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Orca
Orca 2.jpg
Scientific Classification
Scientific Name

Orcinus orca

Cetacea range map Orca.PNG

Habitat Range Map

Orcinus orca, commonly known as the killer whale, is the only species in the genus Orcinus. The orca or killer whale is one of the top predators of the sea. Their only enemy are human beings. The killer whale belongs to the family of dolphins. It is sometimes called the "wolf of the sea," because its hunting behavior is similar to that of wolves.

Anatomy

The killer whale is the largest member of the Delphinidae family. The males' size can reach up to (32ft) in length can weigh over (12,000 lb). Adult females can reach up to (28ft) in length and weigh as much as 8,000 lb. Male and female killer whales have black and white coloring. The killer whale has a round, head. Large powerful jaws are lined with 46 to 50 spiky teeth for tearing other mammals. Killer whale are the fastest whale in the sea, reaching speeds of up to (30mph). The dorsal male fins are 6ft tall bigger than the female dorsal fins which is 4ft tall. The male fin is also more upright than the female.

Reproduction

Orca breeding occurs in winter to early spring while near the surface and in warm waters. About 16 to 8 months after mating, females give birth to a single calf. Newborns weigh about 440 lb and reach about 8ft long. The newborn instinctively swims to the surface within 10 seconds for its first breath. Within 30 mins of its birth the baby whale can swim. The orcas maturity varies between 6 – 16. The estimated time of life for the females are (30 yrs), males (60 yrs.

Ecology

Spy Hopping with calf.

Cetaceans exhibit a behavior called spy hopping, in which they rise vertically out of the water, scanning the entire surrounding area while spinning to look in all directions.

Orcas communicate through pulse-like whistles and screams. They make this sound to communicate with other orcas when mating and locating their prey. Killer whales live in groups called pods. The size of a pod varies from 5 to about 30 individuals. A pod usually consists of males and females. Several smaller pods may join to form larger groups of 50 or more individuals called herds.

Gallery

Related References