The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
KILLER WHALE Orinicus orca

KILLER WHALE Orinicus orca


  • killer-whale-Tory-Tursunzade
Killer whales, or Orcas are toothed whales, the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family. They have a world-wide distribution, truly cosmopolitan, and are considered the most widespread cetacean.
They are surely the most beautiful cetaceans with a dramatic black and white colouring. The body is robust with a high, (up to 1.8m, 6ft in males) straight dorsal fin mid-back. Flippers are big and rounded. They have 10-14 pairs of large teeth in both upper and lower jaws. Their large size and strength make them one of the fastest marine mammals. They have good eyesight and excellent hearing making them very efficient predators.
Orcas are highly social, some forming large family groups or pods. They have sophisticated hunting techniques and behaviours, often specific to a particular group and passed down generations. They have a diverse diet but individual or pods will specialise in particular types of prey. Some feed only on fish; others hunt other marine mammals such as dolphins or seals. They have been seen to tackle adult whales and baleen whale calves. Their movements appear to track their favoured prey and they will appear in areas of seal pupping or fish spawning. They commonly arrive in coastal waters during the summer in the Falklands to prey on seals and penguins ashore for breeding. On Sea Lion Island they are known to come right in to the beach and shallow water to hunt elephant seal pups and juveniles.
Males grow to 9m (30ft), females 7.9m (26ft). Males live 50-60 years and females 80-90 years.
New calves are up to 2.6m (8.5ft) long, gestation varies between born 15 and 18 months.   






Sources include: Sea Mammals of the World-Randall R. Reeves, Brent S. Steware, Phillip J Clapham, James A Powell,Falkland Islands State of the Environment Report 2008 Otley H, Munro G, Clausen A, Ingham B. Wikipedia, Falklands Conservation,
Photographic credits: Chase Dekkerl/, Tory Kallman/,
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