Orca, jumping upside-down.Orca range (in blue)
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Killer Whale

The Orca (Orcinus orca), also known as the Killer Whale, is the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family. It is the second-most widely distributed mammal on Earth (after humans) and is found in all the world's oceans. more...

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It is also a versatile predator, eating fish, turtles, birds, seals, sharks and even other juvenile and small cetaceans. This puts the Orca at the pinnacle of the marine food chain. The orca also attacks other whales, in particular Gray Whales.

The name "killer whale" reflects the animal's reputation as a magnificent and fearsome sea mammal that goes as far back as Pliny the Elder's description of the species. Today it is recognized that the Orca is neither a whale (except in the broad sense that all cetaceans are whales) nor a danger to humans. No attack on a human by an Orca in the wild has ever been recorded. There have, however, been isolated reports of captive Orcas attacking their handlers at marine theme parks.

A former name for the species is Grampus. This is now seldom used and should not be confused with the Grampus genus (containing Risso's Dolphin).

Naming

The name "Orca" (plural "Orcas") was originally given to these animals by the ancient Romans, possibly borrowed from the Greek word ὄρυξ which (among other things) referred to a species of whale.

The name "killer whale" is widely used in common English. However since the 1960s "orca" has steadily grown in popularity as the common name to identify the species and is now more popular than the traditional name amongst those in the field.

There are several reasons for the change. First, having the word whale in the name of a species that is really a dolphin causes confusion. Second, the species is called orca in most other European languages and, as there has been a steady increase in the amount of international research on the species, there has been a convergence in naming.

Furthermore, the killer in "killer whale" is often wrongly assumed to imply that the creature is a killer of humans, an attitude amplified by an unfortunate movie seeking to capitalize from the buzz from Jaws (1975). Orca: The Killer Whale (1977) starred Richard Harris and Bo Derek. It is thought this long standing and often fearful reputation can be put to rest by using the more neutral name of orca.

A pod of Orcas is capable of taking down a large whale. It is commonly thought that 18th-century Spanish sailors dubbed these creatures asesina-ballenas, or "whale killer" for this reason. However, this title was improperly translated into English as "killer whale". The term became so prevalent that Spanish speakers commonly used its retranslation of ballena asesina. This practice has further strengthened the case for using orca.

There are still many who prefer the original name, believing it to be an appropriate description of a species that does indeed kill many animals, including other cetaceans. These supporters of the original name point out that the naming heritage is not limited to Spanish sailors. Indeed the genus name "Orcinus" means "from Hell" (see Orcus) and although the name "orca" (in use since antiquity) is probably not etymologically related, the assonance might have given some people the idea that it means "whale that brings death," or "demon from hell."

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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London Big Ben Clock Coffee Mug 19 oz Cup Orca CoatingsLondon Big Ben Clock Coffee Mug 19 oz Cup Orca Coatings $14.99 Pain & Wastings (Orca Soundings)Pain & Wastings (Orca Soundings) $6.33
Orca Chaser Hunting Atlantic Drift Rambler Cup Insulated Mug Tumbler Yeti CamoOrca Chaser Hunting Atlantic Drift Rambler Cup Insulated Mug Tumbler Yeti Camo $45.00 Orca Toys Cutey Honey Infinite Premium 1/6 Complete FigureOrca Toys Cutey Honey Infinite Premium 1/6 Complete Figure $194.52
*Price Drop* 26Qt Frostbite Cooler Tan L21W13H16 Free Shipping*Price Drop* 26Qt Frostbite Cooler Tan L21W13H16 Free Shipping $167.00 Orca Extra Heavy Duty Cooler, Tan, 20-QuartOrca Extra Heavy Duty Cooler, Tan, 20-Quart $259.00
Orca Print Silicone Swim CapOrca Print Silicone Swim Cap $6.99 Used (Vg) Namu, Quest for the Killer Whale by Ted GriffinUsed (Vg) Namu, Quest for the Killer Whale by Ted Griffin $117.13
New Fleece Winter Cap Hat Beret Beanie - Orca OutdoorNew Fleece Winter Cap Hat Beret Beanie - Orca Outdoor $9.95 Sea World Cap Orca Shamu Blue & White Hat Killer Whale SeaworldSea World Cap Orca Shamu Blue & White Hat Killer Whale Seaworld $26.59 Was: Previous Price $27.99
Orca Chaser Red Atlantic Drift Rambler Cup Crimson Mug Tumbler Yeti Alabama TideOrca Chaser Red Atlantic Drift Rambler Cup Crimson Mug Tumbler Yeti Alabama Tide $45.00 Media100 20609 P6000 Pci Controller Orca Or2C15A 1998Media100 20609 P6000 Pci Controller Orca Or2C15A 1998 $161.60
2005 Seaworld Orca Shamu Pre-production Sample Adult Size Hat2005 Seaworld Orca Shamu Pre-production Sample Adult Size Hat $14.99 Orca Or-37 Waist Mixer Bag BeltOrca Or-37 Waist Mixer Bag Belt $75.00
Lego Batman Movie Minifigures number 14 Orca 71017Lego Batman Movie Minifigures number 14 Orca 71017 $7.78 Was: Previous Price $10.38 1991 1992 Fur Rondy Fur Rendezvous Musk Ox & Killer Whale Belt Buckle1991 1992 Fur Rondy Fur Rendezvous Musk Ox & Killer Whale Belt Buckle $19.99
Franke Kitchen Faucet Orca Ff-3000- NewFranke Kitchen Faucet Orca Ff-3000- New $225.00 Clementine Design Killer Whale Orca Ceiling Fan PullClementine Design Killer Whale Orca Ceiling Fan Pull $10.99
New Lego Batman Movie Minifigures 71017 - OrcaNew Lego Batman Movie Minifigures 71017 - Orca $3.21 Was: Previous Price $4.59 Great White Shark Killer Whale Playset - Animal PlanetGreat White Shark Killer Whale Playset - Animal Planet $39.73
Orca Chasertini - Stainless Steel Beverage Holder - Martini GlassOrca Chasertini - Stainless Steel Beverage Holder - Martini Glass $29.99 Factory Entertainment Jaws Orca Attack Shakems Premium Motion Statue Action FiguFactory Entertainment Jaws Orca Attack Shakems Premium Motion Statue Action Figu $110.12
Orca Killer Whale/Tail Purse Charms Key Chain Fob silver Green handmade Usa 1112Orca Killer Whale/Tail Purse Charms Key Chain Fob silver Green handmade Usa 1112 $9.99 Killer Whales of Southern AlaskaKiller Whales of Southern Alaska $4.59
Rare 1991 Fur Rondy Rendezvous Pin Birch Wood Orca Whale Made In AlaskaRare 1991 Fur Rondy Rendezvous Pin Birch Wood Orca Whale Made In Alaska $24.00 Bill Jauquet Santa Riding Killer Whale Christmas Ornament Folk ArtBill Jauquet Santa Riding Killer Whale Christmas Ornament Folk Art $55.00
Sea Panda Killer Whale Awesome Funny Ladies Slim Fit Red VestSea Panda Killer Whale Awesome Funny Ladies Slim Fit Red Vest $14.00 Rare Kaiyodo ChocoQ Animatales Series 7 Orca Killer Whale FigureRare Kaiyodo ChocoQ Animatales Series 7 Orca Killer Whale Figure $7.99
Orca Hv Generation 2 6300mAh 100c Full SizeLipo Battery-5mm Bullets-Obhv63G2Orca Hv Generation 2 6300mAh 100c Full SizeLipo Battery-5mm Bullets-Obhv63G2 $49.99 Western Samoa Colorful Country Flag ~ Orca Killer Whale Tack Back Lapel PinWestern Samoa Colorful Country Flag ~ Orca Killer Whale Tack Back Lapel Pin $2.98
Kitan Nature Technicolour Only orca killer whale Only figure not KaiyodoKitan Nature Technicolour Only orca killer whale Only figure not Kaiyodo $50.00 Killer Whale 2D sterling silver charm pendant .925 x 1 Whales pendants Sslp1555Killer Whale 2D sterling silver charm pendant .925 x 1 Whales pendants Sslp1555 $16.04
Vanuatu Colorful South Pacific Islands Country Flag Orca Killer Whale Lapel PinVanuatu Colorful South Pacific Islands Country Flag Orca Killer Whale Lapel Pin $2.98 Daredevil Club Orca CurrentsDaredevil Club Orca Currents $3.95
Sea World Killer Whales Orca - Vintage Mug - CupSea World Killer Whales Orca - Vintage Mug - Cup $6.99 Kid Galaxy - Morphibians Killer Whale Rc Amphibious VehicleKid Galaxy - Morphibians Killer Whale Rc Amphibious Vehicle $36.22
East Urban Home Killer Whale Orca #2 Leash or Key HolderEast Urban Home Killer Whale Orca #2 Leash or Key Holder $22.99 Puzzled Killer Whale Wooden 3D Puzzle Construction Kit NewPuzzled Killer Whale Wooden 3D Puzzle Construction Kit New $11.99
Kitan Nature Technicolour Antarctica South Pole complete set of 8 penguin orcaKitan Nature Technicolour Antarctica South Pole complete set of 8 penguin orca $100.00 Orca Whale Breaching Glacier Bay Composite Se Poster Print (17 x 11)Orca Whale Breaching Glacier Bay Composite Se Poster Print (17 x 11) $14.99 List price: Previous Price $19.72
SeaWorld Killer Whale Tumbler Mug Coffee CupSeaWorld Killer Whale Tumbler Mug Coffee Cup $9.99 2007 Nike Zoom Kobe Ii 2 St Strength Orca Black White Purple Grape 316835-001 132007 Nike Zoom Kobe Ii 2 St Strength Orca Black White Purple Grape 316835-001 13 $269.99
Roessingh Wischniowski Orca Suite Naturequest CassetteRoessingh Wischniowski Orca Suite Naturequest Cassette $9.36 405-Bk - Scotty 405 Offshore Orca Kit w/459 Extension405-Bk - Scotty 405 Offshore Orca Kit w/459 Extension $44.85
orca tait 2-way radio No Battery Back Panther 400P Gp400S2X Vetop-H2110-G1 usedorca tait 2-way radio No Battery Back Panther 400P Gp400S2X Vetop-H2110-G1 used $31.98 Was: Previous Price $39.97 Canada #1173 57¢ Killer Whale First Day CoverCanada #1173 57¢ Killer Whale First Day Cover $1.11 Was: Previous Price $1.36
Sea World Shamu Killer Whale Orca 10" Vtg stuffed plush 1986 SouvenirSea World Shamu Killer Whale Orca 10" Vtg stuffed plush 1986 Souvenir $4.99 So Rare! 12" Orca Killer Whale Rubber Replica Display Mancave School Cabin 1Lb!So Rare! 12" Orca Killer Whale Rubber Replica Display Mancave School Cabin 1Lb! $9.99
Minifigures New Character Blocks Batman Movie Series 20 Gift Orca Building ToysMinifigures New Character Blocks Batman Movie Series 20 Gift Orca Building Toys $0.82 DeRosa Rinconada Family Collection ceramics (Killer Whale), newDeRosa Rinconada Family Collection ceramics (Killer Whale), new $59.00
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Prices current as of last update, 12/11/17 5:40am.

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