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Species Over Time Research: Orca

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KILLER WHALES (Orcinus orca) - Scientific Classification. Class - Mammalia Mammals are characterized by the following features: Cetacea is a scientific order of large aquatic mammals that have forelimbs modified into flippers, a horizontally flattened tail, one or two nostrils at the top of the head for breathing, and no hind limbs. Cetaceans include all whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Mammals breathe air with lungs.

Mammals nurse their young. The word "cetacean" is derived from the Greek word for whale, kētos. Biochemical and genetic studies suggest that even-toed ungulates, especially hippopotamuses (Family Hippopotamidae), are cetaceans' closest living terrestrial relatives. Some scientists suggest that since cetaceans genetically and morphologically fall within the artiodactyl clade, they should be included in the Order Cetartiodactyla with Cetacea as an unranked taxon. Living cetaceans are further divided into two suborders: the Odontoceti (toothed whales) and the Mysticeti (baleen whales). Genus, Species - Orcinus orca.

Orca | killer whale - Facts and information. Orcas are the most widely distributed of all whales and dolphins, found in every ocean. But though the species is widespread, orca populations are actually very localized. The orca communities that live in the Pacific Northwest stay in that area, and those in the Antarctic stay south of the Equator. While they are very distant cousins, these populations have not interacted in thousands of years, resulting in significant differences. Differences include their appearance, behavior, acoustics, and what they eat. These variations, plus genetic distinctions, support the existence of multiple kinds of orcas – what scientists call “ecotypes.” What is an orca? An orca is a marine mammal. What we now know is that not all orcas prey on other cetaceans. What do orcas eat? Looking at all populations, orcas are generalist eaters, consuming fish, seals and sea lions, dolphins and porpoises, sharks and rays, large whales, cephalopods (octopods and squids), seabirds and more.

What threats do orcas face? Killer Whale Evolution - Killer Whale Facts and Information. Killer whales are the only species in the genus Orcinus. In 1758, the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus included this marine species in his book “Systema Naturae” setting the ground for further research on this and other cetaceans. The “Orcinus orca” belongs to suborder Odontoceti also known as toothed whales, which differentiates them from the baleen whales.

The Delphinidae family to which they belong, also includes dolphins, false killer whales and pilot whales. Scientists think that all whales, porpoises and dolphins probably descended from carnivorous land animals that were part of the fauna 60 million years ago, during the Paleocene. These animals are known as Mesonychids and using the latest technology, and their fossils researchers recreated their possible appearance. The relationship between those land animals with modern orcas is evident in the teeth, skull and other morphological structures. The Mesonychids were similar in size to a wolf, but their feet were ungulates. Killer Whale Information - Killer Whale Facts and Information. Killer Whale Information Index What do Killer Whales Eat Just as we are at the top of the food chain on the planet, Orcas are at the top of the food chain in the ocean.Killer Whale Habitat and Distribution You will find them in the colder waters close to the Arctic region.

You will also find others enjoying the warmer waters in the tropical locations.Killer Whale Reproduction Reproduction takes place late in life for Killer Whales. The females aren’t mature until they are approximately 10 years of age.Killer Whale Anatomy All Killer Whales are black and white. The top part of them are black with some white marks here and there. The size and shape of them varies by individual.Killer Whale Evolution More than 60 million years ago, the Killer Whale likely was a land animal. Orcas (Killer Whales), Orcinus orca. Orcas (formerly known as killer whales), Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758), are actually dolphins. And they are the largest of the dolphin family (Family Delphinidae ~ 32 species, including what we normally consider dolphins, pygmy killer whales, Feresa attenuata, and false killer whales, Pseudorca crassiddens).

Orcas reach a maximum length of over 9 m and can weigh up to 7,257 kg. Because of their fierce reputation, orca are sometimes called the Ballena asesina ("assassin whale") by the Spanish. They were referred to as "whale killers" by sailors who witnessed their attacks on larger cetaceans, and over time this name was changed to "killer whales. " Orcinus is probably derived from Orcus , an ancient mythological Roman god of the netherworld—a reference to the ferocious reputation of this animal.

Next to humans, orcas are the most widely distributed mammal. Km up the Columbia River in search of fish. m deep. Active and opportunistic, orca are THE apex predators in the ocean. kg. ~ BioOne ~ WoRMS. Orca. About the Orca Orcas, or killer whales, are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world's most powerful predators. They feast on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, employing teeth that can be four inches long. They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds. Hunting and Communication Though they often frequent cold, coastal waters, orcas can be found from the polar regions to the Equator. Orcas hunt in deadly pods, family groups of up to 40 individuals.

Whales make a wide variety of communicative sounds, and each pod has distinctive noises that its members will recognize even at a distance. Reproduction and Conservation Orcas are protective of their young, and other adolescent females often assist the mother in caring for them. Orcas are immediately recognizable by their distinctive black-and-white coloring and are the intelligent, trainable stars of many aquarium shows.

Orca | Killer Whale Species Guide - Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Orcinus orca Classification: The orca is the apex predator of the sea and the largest member of the dolphin family. It is highly intelligent, highly adaptable and able to communicate and coordinate hunting tactics. Not typically a migratory species, orca ‘migrations' are principally in response to changes in favoured prey abundance and can sometimes be long, e.g between Alaska and California. Depending on the type of social group and location, orcas will hunt fish, squid, seals, sea lions, seabirds and even whales much larger than themselves.

There has never been a documented attack on a human in the wild, and there are some stories of orcas actually protecting humans at sea from sharks. The taxonomy of this genus however is clearly in need of review, and it is likely that Orcinus orca will be split into a number of different species or at least subspecies over the next few years - for example resident's versus transients. Appearance: Behaviour: Distribution: Distribution map: Killer whale. The killer whale (Orcinus orca), also referred to as the orca whale or orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas. Killer whales as a species have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey.

Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as sea lions, seals, walruses, and even large whales. Killer whales are regarded as apex predators, lacking natural predators. Killer whales are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species. The IUCN currently assesses the orca's conservation status as data deficient because of the likelihood that two or more killer whale types are separate species. Taxonomy and evolution Common names Types Three types have been documented in the Antarctic.