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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Orca Earrings - Pewter with Sterling Silver Ear Wires (or Gp) Killer WhaleOrca Earrings - Pewter with Sterling Silver Ear Wires (or Gp) Killer Whale $9.99 New! Authentic Orca Chaser 27 Oz Clear Titan Replacement LidNew! Authentic Orca Chaser 27 Oz Clear Titan Replacement Lid $6.70 Was:  Previous Price $7.88
Alaska Souvenir Totem Pole - 8 inch tall Unique Tribal Orca Alaska Totem PoleAlaska Souvenir Totem Pole - 8 inch tall Unique Tribal Orca Alaska Totem Pole $16.99 Orca Tank Top Size Xl Womens Bra Cycling Swim Running Tri Black Mesh Quick DryOrca Tank Top Size Xl Womens Bra Cycling Swim Running Tri Black Mesh Quick Dry $22.22 Was:  Previous Price $25.84
Lenox Orca Collector Plate by Jarrett Holderby - Killer Whale Conservation PlateLenox Orca Collector Plate by Jarrett Holderby - Killer Whale Conservation Plate $5.00 Our America Gift Candle Topper - Orca TopperOur America Gift Candle Topper - Orca Topper $7.95
New 2014 Women's Orca 3.8 Enduro Triathlon Wetsuit ~ Model Closeout ~ Save 35%New 2014 Women's Orca 3.8 Enduro Triathlon Wetsuit ~ Model Closeout ~ Save 35% $454.35 Womens Unisex Black Mountain Orca Whales Plush Fleece Zip Front Jacket - MWomens Unisex Black Mountain Orca Whales Plush Fleece Zip Front Jacket - M $38.00
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Vintage "Sea World" Shamu Killer Whale Orca Snapback Osfa Baseball Cap HatVintage "Sea World" Shamu Killer Whale Orca Snapback Osfa Baseball Cap Hat $22.36 Was:  Previous Price $27.95 Artesania Rinconada Orca Killer Whale Mother With Baby Figurine SetArtesania Rinconada Orca Killer Whale Mother With Baby Figurine Set $39.97
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Vintage Gi Joe 1984 Killer W.H.A.L.E whale Hovercraft Right Cannon RetainerVintage Gi Joe 1984 Killer W.H.A.L.E whale Hovercraft Right Cannon Retainer $7.95 EzFlow Killer Whale Pro Buffer (3-Way Buffer) 60234EzFlow Killer Whale Pro Buffer (3-Way Buffer) 60234 $4.25
Warm Up (Orca Limelights), Leach, Sara, Good BookWarm Up (Orca Limelights), Leach, Sara, Good Book $6.99 New Bagels Come Home (Orca Echoes) by Joan Betty StuchnerNew Bagels Come Home (Orca Echoes) by Joan Betty Stuchner $13.32
Lego The Batman Movie Minifigures Orca Figure NewLego The Batman Movie Minifigures Orca Figure New $3.00 Vintage Sea World Orca Killer Whale Trucker Snapback Blue Hat Cap Mesh 90'sVintage Sea World Orca Killer Whale Trucker Snapback Blue Hat Cap Mesh 90's $9.95
Vintage Sterling Bracelet Charm~#86487~Coastal Salish~Killer Whale~Just $12.99!Vintage Sterling Bracelet Charm~#86487~Coastal Salish~Killer Whale~Just $12.99! $12.99 Killer Whale Orca Ocean Animal Funny Money Bill # 193Killer Whale Orca Ocean Animal Funny Money Bill # 193 $0.25
Vintage Iron Wood Whale Carved Wood Figurine Sperm Orca Blue Beluga? Excellent!Vintage Iron Wood Whale Carved Wood Figurine Sperm Orca Blue Beluga? Excellent! $27.99 Nice Wilson Golf Killer Whale Orca Strong 3 Wood 14.5* Right Graphite Mens FlexNice Wilson Golf Killer Whale Orca Strong 3 Wood 14.5* Right Graphite Mens Flex $19.99
Tactical Military Backpack Kosatka (killer Whale) by Stich ProfiTactical Military Backpack Kosatka (killer Whale) by Stich Profi $238.00 Jaws with Roy Scheider Riding in With the Crew Orca Boat B Poster 13x19Jaws with Roy Scheider Riding in With the Crew Orca Boat B Poster 13x19 $12.99
Orca-Richard Harris-Charlotte Rampling-27X41 Orig Poster-1977-Horror-Thr G/VgOrca-Richard Harris-Charlotte Rampling-27X41 Orig Poster-1977-Horror-Thr G/Vg $48.00 Killer Whale Picture Postage stamp Canada 2014 p76ml4/4Killer Whale Picture Postage stamp Canada 2014 p76ml4/4 $4.23 Was:  Previous Price $4.98
Bruce Muir "Transient Killer Whale" Signed Contemporary Canadian Art Card # 9407Bruce Muir "Transient Killer Whale" Signed Contemporary Canadian Art Card # 9407 $15.00 Pool-Pets Water Inflated Pool Toys - Opie the OrcaPool-Pets Water Inflated Pool Toys - Opie the Orca $26.99
Orca 226 Triathlon Race Suit Xl Women Tri Training Bra Stretch Kompress Lot of 2Orca 226 Triathlon Race Suit Xl Women Tri Training Bra Stretch Kompress Lot of 2 $128.97 Was:  Previous Price $149.97 Orca Killer Whale Funny Ocean Creature C Gildan Hoodie SweatshirtOrca Killer Whale Funny Ocean Creature C Gildan Hoodie Sweatshirt $33.99
Killer Whales (Animal Predators) by Markle, SandraKiller Whales (Animal Predators) by Markle, Sandra $3.99 Lot Of 5 Different Whale Sea Life Figure Toys Educational Figurines Blue KillerLot Of 5 Different Whale Sea Life Figure Toys Educational Figurines Blue Killer $11.99
Orca Mother Whale And Calf Picture Frame - Westland Giftware *New*Orca Mother Whale And Calf Picture Frame - Westland Giftware *New* $14.99 365Printing 360° Full Protection Killer Whale Clear Cover Transparent Phone Case365Printing 360° Full Protection Killer Whale Clear Cover Transparent Phone Case $17.99
Singed Vintage Alpaca Mexican Killer Whale BroochSinged Vintage Alpaca Mexican Killer Whale Brooch $23.81 Nike Kobe Bryant Trainer Rare Ftb 2007 2008 Ds 2 Ii Mamba orca size 11 Nib NewNike Kobe Bryant Trainer Rare Ftb 2007 2008 Ds 2 Ii Mamba orca size 11 Nib New $234.24
Vancouver Canucks Vintage Koho Nhl Hockey Third Jersey Red OrcaVancouver Canucks Vintage Koho Nhl Hockey Third Jersey Red Orca $129.99 Orca Killer Whale Funny Ocean Creature C Hanes Tagless Tee T-ShirtOrca Killer Whale Funny Ocean Creature C Hanes Tagless Tee T-Shirt $18.99
Cool Boy Scout Patch - Killer Whale Patrol! (#072)Cool Boy Scout Patch - Killer Whale Patrol! (#072) $3.25 Togetherness Is Our Home : An Orca's Journey Through LifeTogetherness Is Our Home : An Orca's Journey Through Life $15.16
Embroidered Killer Whale Denim Sea World Notepad and Zip Up Planner VintageEmbroidered Killer Whale Denim Sea World Notepad and Zip Up Planner Vintage $15.99 Killer Whale-Creatures of the Sea-1st day issue-Golden ReplicaKiller Whale-Creatures of the Sea-1st day issue-Golden Replica $4.78
Mojo Fun 387114 Male Orca - Realistic Sea Life Marine Toy ReplicaMojo Fun 387114 Male Orca - Realistic Sea Life Marine Toy Replica $5.99 David Rio Orca Spice Sugar Free Chai 3 PoundDavid Rio Orca Spice Sugar Free Chai 3 Pound $44.89
Orca Killer Whale Funny Ocean Creature C Gildan Women's Tee T-ShirtOrca Killer Whale Funny Ocean Creature C Gildan Women's Tee T-Shirt $19.99 Fiesta Orca Whale Mama Baby Set Black White Plush Stuffed Animal 24" NewFiesta Orca Whale Mama Baby Set Black White Plush Stuffed Animal 24" New $20.00 Was:  Previous Price $25.00
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Prices current as of last update, 02/14/18 3:40pm.

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