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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Prism Steve Sundram "Orca Sunrise" Sea Ocean 1000 pc Jigsaw Puzzle NewPrism Steve Sundram "Orca Sunrise" Sea Ocean 1000 pc Jigsaw Puzzle New $12.00 Animal Planet Playset Ocean Great White Shark And Killer Whale Toy Play Set FunAnimal Planet Playset Ocean Great White Shark And Killer Whale Toy Play Set Fun $52.47
Orca Trio - Cross Stitch Kit - X My HeartOrca Trio - Cross Stitch Kit - X My Heart $27.56 Pretty Butterfly | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl DecalPretty Butterfly | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl Decal $4.35
Sea World Killer Orca Shamu Whale Plush Busch GardensSea World Killer Orca Shamu Whale Plush Busch Gardens $10.79 Over 2 Yards Of Beautiful Orca Whales Cotton Fabric L@K!Over 2 Yards Of Beautiful Orca Whales Cotton Fabric L@K! $1.50
Lego 71017 The Batman Movie Mini figurines for selection - New & unusedLego 71017 The Batman Movie Mini figurines for selection - New & unused $13.09 to $21.87 Peace Love Unity Respect | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl DecalPeace Love Unity Respect | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl Decal $4.35
Orca Aero Trisuit Triathlon Onesie Mens New Black WhiteOrca Aero Trisuit Triathlon Onesie Mens New Black White $235.77 Bass Guitar | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl DecalBass Guitar | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl Decal $4.35
Killer Whale Whales Space Orcas Orca Queen Size Blanket BedspreadKiller Whale Whales Space Orcas Orca Queen Size Blanket Bedspread $68.99 Chap Mei Realistic Toy Animal Lot Sea Life Great White Shark Orca Killer WhaleChap Mei Realistic Toy Animal Lot Sea Life Great White Shark Orca Killer Whale $32.00
Sea World Shamu Killer Whale Orca Hurricane Souvenir Glass - Footed 24 ozSea World Shamu Killer Whale Orca Hurricane Souvenir Glass - Footed 24 oz $4.95 New Triggered (Orca Soundings) by Vicki GrantNew Triggered (Orca Soundings) by Vicki Grant $14.13
Pv60270 - Orca Whale Key LightPv60270 - Orca Whale Key Light $15.68 List price: Previous Price $19.60 Handmade watch strap Vintage Sand genuine leather fit Orca any size availableHandmade watch strap Vintage Sand genuine leather fit Orca any size available $39.99 to $45.99
Orca Enduro Square Leg Swimming Trunks Mens NewOrca Enduro Square Leg Swimming Trunks Mens New $47.11 Knifepoint (Orca Soundings) (ExLib)Knifepoint (Orca Soundings) (ExLib) $3.99
Jeep Star Badge | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl DecalJeep Star Badge | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl Decal $4.35 Shamash and Sons Whale Orca Cotton Fabric on Blue 3 yds 16" piece Pattern 3118Shamash and Sons Whale Orca Cotton Fabric on Blue 3 yds 16" piece Pattern 3118 $17.99
Orca Swim-Run Bungee Cord gvb9 NewOrca Swim-Run Bungee Cord gvb9 New $34.20 3-D Killer Whale Sea World Souvenir Magnet3-D Killer Whale Sea World Souvenir Magnet $5.99
Sale Aged Inventory,Frostbite 40Qt Dual Cooler L18.75W18.75H22.75 Free ShipSale Aged Inventory,Frostbite 40Qt Dual Cooler L18.75W18.75H22.75 Free Ship $175.00 New Beautiful Orca Whale Couple Mouse Pad Mats Mousepad Hot GiftNew Beautiful Orca Whale Couple Mouse Pad Mats Mousepad Hot Gift $9.52 Was: Previous Price $11.20
Tree of Life | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl DecalTree of Life | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl Decal $4.35 Women's Sterling Silver Orca Whale Clip-On Charm. Shipping is FreeWomen's Sterling Silver Orca Whale Clip-On Charm. Shipping is Free $170.00
Killer Whales/By Cain/Orchestration Limited Edition/#209 of 2000Killer Whales/By Cain/Orchestration Limited Edition/#209 of 2000 $35.00 Hayate the Combat Butler Katsura Hinagiku Cat ver. 1/6 Pvc Figure Orca Toys F/SHayate the Combat Butler Katsura Hinagiku Cat ver. 1/6 Pvc Figure Orca Toys F/S $107.00
Orca : The Whale Called KillerOrca : The Whale Called Killer $3.99 Textiles Plus Inc. Killer Whale Beach TowelTextiles Plus Inc. Killer Whale Beach Towel $29.99
Child Latch-Duplo-hanuta-Oceans of the World Complete Album-Single StickerChild Latch-Duplo-hanuta-Oceans of the World Complete Album-Single Sticker $1.18 to $17.57 $84.99 Was: Previous Price $99.99
Scuba Diver | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl DecalScuba Diver | 3" | Yeti Rtic Orca Ozark Trail Cup Black Vinyl Decal $4.35 Killer Whale Ocean Tropical Nature Scenery Art Home Decor Light Switch PlateKiller Whale Ocean Tropical Nature Scenery Art Home Decor Light Switch Plate $10.61 to $15.44 Was: Previous Price $12.14
Sea World Plush Orca Whale Black White 16" Lgth Vgc CuteSea World Plush Orca Whale Black White 16" Lgth Vgc Cute $10.99 1837 Jardine "Naturalist's Library" Hc Engraving killer whale, orca1837 Jardine "Naturalist's Library" Hc Engraving killer whale, orca $49.95
rockD Orca-LockrockD Orca-Lock $22.99 Torpedo Beasts Marine Life 4 Pack - Orca, Squid, SharksTorpedo Beasts Marine Life 4 Pack - Orca, Squid, Sharks $13.12
Ss Orca Royal Mail Line Ocean Liner Postcard c1908Ss Orca Royal Mail Line Ocean Liner Postcard c1908 $2.39 Repaired: Orca Men's 1.5 Alpha Wetsuit - Size 9Repaired: Orca Men's 1.5 Alpha Wetsuit - Size 9 $379.95
Hog Wild Orca Popper ToyHog Wild Orca Popper Toy $19.48 "Seawolf" Orca - Lc203"Seawolf" Orca - Lc203 $11.94 List price: Previous Price $14.93
Aceo Original Art Watercolor - An Orca Jumping - Killer Whale - by ShannaAceo Original Art Watercolor - An Orca Jumping - Killer Whale - by Shanna $2.99 Comeback Orca SoundingsComeback Orca Soundings $3.87
WeGlow International Light up Flashing Orca Bubble Gun-2 PackWeGlow International Light up Flashing Orca Bubble Gun-2 Pack $27.19 Cutie Honey Infinite Premium Ver.Sd Limited Edition 1/6 Pvc Figure Orca ToysCutie Honey Infinite Premium Ver.Sd Limited Edition 1/6 Pvc Figure Orca Toys $890.00
Nwt Tea Collection Boys Long Sleeve Orca Graphic T size 6Nwt Tea Collection Boys Long Sleeve Orca Graphic T size 6 $12.50 Dirty Projectors + Bjork Mount Wittenberg
00006000
 Orca Japan 7-Track Ep Cd SamplerDirty Projectors + Bjork Mount Wittenberg 00006000 Orca Japan 7-Track Ep Cd Sampler $44.99 Was: Previous Price $49.99
To Heart2 Kousaka Tamaki Bunny ver. 1/5 Pvc Figure Orca Toys Free ShippingTo Heart2 Kousaka Tamaki Bunny ver. 1/5 Pvc Figure Orca Toys Free Shipping $129.00 2011 Australia Killer Whale 1oz Silver Proof Dollar Coloured Coin Boxed Coa2011 Australia Killer Whale 1oz Silver Proof Dollar Coloured Coin Boxed Coa $114.13 000016D5
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Prices current as of last update, 08/14/17 5:40am.

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