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 mens Equip Tec Triathlon Tri 1/2 Zip Tank Jersey Shirt Size Large New wTagOrca mens Equip Tec Triathlon Tri 1/2 Zip Tank Jersey Shirt Size Large New wTag $36.94 Was: Previous Price $42.95 Infiltration (Orca Soundings)Infiltration (Orca Soundings) $9.47
Vintage Sea World 10" Plush Killer Whale Orca - 1988Vintage Sea World 10" Plush Killer Whale Orca - 1988 $7.99 Shamu Plush Sea World Killer Orca Whale Large 28" Stuffed Animal Lovey MintyShamu Plush Sea World Killer Orca Whale Large 28" Stuffed Animal Lovey Minty $32.09 Was: Previous Price $34.88
Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca 2009 Uk 9-track promo CdDirty Projectors Bitte Orca 2009 Uk 9-track promo Cd $5.12 Nwt Kickee Pants Orca Whale Pjs 2TNwt Kickee Pants Orca Whale Pjs 2T $31.00
Olof Dahlstrand Plein Air Ca Watercolor Sea Channel Doe Island Orca WashingtonOlof Dahlstrand Plein Air Ca Watercolor Sea Channel Doe Island Orca Washington $350.00 Dirty Projectors-Bitte Orca (Ogv) Vinyl Lp NewDirty Projectors-Bitte Orca (Ogv) Vinyl Lp New $22.56
Florida Beach Towel Killer WhalesFlorida Beach Towel Killer Whales $7.34 Orca Womens 226 Enduro One Piece Dark Blue And Pink Size Large NwtOrca Womens 226 Enduro One Piece Dark Blue And Pink Size Large Nwt $16.99
Rock Exotica rockD Carabiner Orca BlackRock Exotica rockD Carabiner Orca Black $22.95 List price: Previous Price $23.00 Original 1993 Free Willy Special Orca Killer Whales PosterOriginal 1993 Free Willy Special Orca Killer Whales Poster $29.99
Peruvian Ceramic Killer Humpback Beluga Tlingit Whale Single Bead Lot of 5 Or 10Peruvian Ceramic Killer Humpback Beluga Tlingit Whale Single Bead Lot of 5 Or 10 $1.95 to $17.55 Dirty Projectors-Bitte Orca Cd NewDirty Projectors-Bitte Orca Cd New $14.23
Buy Now Stamps Australia Aat $1,00 1995 Killer Whale (Mnh) lot 538aBuy Now Stamps Australia Aat $1,00 1995 Killer Whale (Mnh) lot 538a $1.17 New Home Team (Orca Young Readers) by Eric WaltersNew Home Team (Orca Young Readers) by Eric Walters $15.79
Orca Killer Whale Under the Ocean Animal 12 Inch Kid Room Bath Wall Plaque DecorOrca Killer Whale Under the Ocean Animal 12 Inch Kid Room Bath Wall Plaque Decor $12.51 Anchorage Alaska Fur Rendezvous 1991 large metal Lapel Pin, with beautiful OrcaAnchorage Alaska Fur Rendezvous 1991 large metal Lapel Pin, with beautiful Orca $14.99
*Sale* 16Qt Frostbite Cooler Grey L16.5 W12.75 H15 Free Shipping*Sale* 16Qt Frostbite Cooler Grey L16.5 W12.75 H15 Free Shipping $132.00 New! Orca Rx3 6.5T Sensored Brushless MotorNew! Orca Rx3 6.5T Sensored Brushless Motor $99.99
Hate Mail (Orca Currents)-ExLibraryHate Mail (Orca Currents)-ExLibrary $7.41 Authentic Sea World Orca Whale Shamu Youth HatAuthentic Sea World Orca Whale Shamu Youth Hat $0.99
New Alaska's Watchable Whales: Humpback & Killer Whales by Mark KelleyNew Alaska's Watchable Whales: Humpback & Killer Whales by Mark Kelley $28.60 Canada 2013 Fine Silver $25 Coin "Oh Canada" Orca with CalfCanada 2013 Fine Silver $25 Coin "Oh Canada" Orca with Calf $62.49
*Frostbite Cooler 48Qt Orange Free Ship L28W16.25H16.5*Frostbite Cooler 48Qt Orange Free Ship L28W16.25H16.5 $274.00 Orca Killer Whale Dangling Bracelet Pendant CharmOrca Killer Whale Dangling Bracelet Pendant Charm $5.99
Ra- Sea World (Fantastic Jump By Killer Whales) Postcard #34601Ra- Sea World (Fantastic Jump By Killer Whales) Postcard #34601 $21.00 Was: Previous Price $35.00 12" Orca Shamu Whale Black White The Petting Zoo 1994 Plush Stuffed Toy B27812" Orca Shamu Whale Black White The Petting Zoo 1994 Plush Stuffed Toy B278 $13.39 Was: Previous Price $19.99
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Prices current as of last update, 04/26/17 2:21pm.

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