Killer whales have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey. Females are smaller, generally ranging from 5 to 7 m (16 to 23 ft) and weighing about 3 to 4 tonnes (3.0 to 3.9 long tons; 3.3 to 4.4 short tons). [164][165] The lifespans of wild females average 50 to 80 years. Wild killer whales are not considered a threat to humans and no fatal attack on humans has ever been documented, but there have been cases of captive orcas killing or injuring their handlers at marine theme parks. A cosmopolitan species, they can be found in each of the world's oceans in a variety of marine environments, from Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas, absent only from the Baltic and Black seas, and some areas of the Arctic Ocean. (2005). Some populations in the Norwegian and Greenland sea specialize in herring and follow that fish's autumnal migration to the Norwegian coast. [63], Occasionally a killer whale is white; they have been spotted in the northern Bering Sea and around St. Lawrence Island, and near the Russian coast. However, killer whales are merely seasonal visitors to Arctic waters, and do not approach the pack ice in the summer. [143] Clans, the next level of resident social structure, are composed of pods with similar dialects, and common but older maternal heritage. [80][81] Distinct populations may also exist off the west coast of tropical Africa,[82] and Papua New Guinea. [103], In New Zealand, sharks and rays appear to be important prey, including eagle rays, long-tail and short-tail stingrays, common threshers, smooth hammerheads, blue sharks, basking sharks, and shortfin makos. [185] Many scientists involved in this lawsuit, including Bill Wareham, a marine scientist with the David Suzuki Foundation, noted increased boat traffic, water toxic wastes, and low salmon population as major threats, putting approximately 87 killer whales[185] on the British Columbia Coast in danger. Ferguson said killer whales—hunting in pods—will pull down on a bowhead's lip to open its mouth, allowing other members to attack its fatty tongue. He studied killer whales from the Center for Whale Research, located in Friday Harbor, Washington. With their distinctive black and white patterning and huge dorsal fins, a pod of orcas powering through the waves is one of the most impressive sights in the natural world. Orcas or killer whales (Orcinus orca) are the alpha mammals of oceans. [234] Wild killer whales may travel up to 160 kilometres (100 mi) in a day, and critics say the animals are too big and intelligent to be suitable for captivity. [79] A wide-ranging population is likely to exist in the central Pacific, with some sightings off Hawaii. Transient pods have been sighted from southern Alaska to central California. They have been sighted, though more infrequently, in the Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Banderas Bay on Mexico's west coast and the Caribbean. We all know man occupies the top tier as an apex predator, but besides humans, Killer whales are the dominant and powerful apex predators. [229], As a response to this, in 2017 boats off the British Columbia coast now have a minimum approach distance of 200 metres compared to the previous 100 metres. Dolphins and whales are closely related. The techniques vary … [77] Those orcas may occasionally enter the Red Sea through the Gulf of Aden. The introduction of modern whaling techniques may have aided killer whales by the sound of exploding harpoons indicating availability of prey to scavenge, and compressed air inflation of whale carcasses causing them to float, thus exposing them to scavenging. [227] One well-known example was the killer whales of Eden, Australia, including the male known as Old Tom. [c] That said, a 2015 study coauthored by staff at SeaWorld and the Minnesota Zoo suggested no significant difference in survivorship between free-ranging and captive killer whales. [50], There are seven identified ecotypes inhabiting isolated ecological niches. [222] Today, no country carries out a substantial hunt, although Indonesia and Greenland permit small subsistence hunts (see Aboriginal whaling). This includes personalizing content and advertising. Adult killer whales are very distinctive, seldom confused with any other sea creature. They do not breed outside of their community, which was once estimated at around 200 animals and later shrank to around 90. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. She is an incredible killer, her body is special. [229] Researchers discovered that these vessels are in the line of sight for these whales for 98–99.5% of daylight hours. [214], Between 1964 and 1976, 50 killer whales from the Pacific Northwest were captured for display in aquaria, and public interest in the animals grew. Transients are typically silent. The Portuguese coastguard banned small sailing vessels from a region where several incidents had been reported. Orcas Vs Shark: Killer Whales Take Down Tiger SharkSUBSCRIBE: We upload a new incredible video every weekday. Leatherwood, Stephen and Larry J. Hobbs (1988). [17][46] Mitochondrial DNA sequences support the theory that these are recently diverged separate species. [242], "Orca" redirects here. Wild males who survive infancy live 31 years on average, and up to 50–60 years. [142], Closely related matrilines form loose aggregations called pods, usually consisting of one to four matrilines. The nudging, biting and ramming attacks, on medium-size sailing boats sailing at moderate speed, concentrated on the rudder, with some impacts on the hull. [115][120], Hunting a large whale usually takes several hours. [97] However, whales in tropical areas appear to have more generalized diets due to lower food productivity. Killer whales feature strongly in the mythologies of indigenous cultures, and their reputation in different cultures ranges from being the souls of humans to merciless killers. 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[31][32][33], Other populations have not been as well studied, although specialized fish and mammal eating killer whales have been distinguished elsewhere. Olesiuk, Peter F.; Ellis, Graeme M. and Ford, John K. B. [64][65] In February 2008, a white killer whale was photographed 3.2 km (2.0 mi) off Kanaga Volcano in the Aleutian Islands. [149] Family-specific calls have been observed more frequently in the days following a calf's birth, which may help the calf learn them. [49], A typical killer whale distinctively bears a black back, white chest and sides, and a white patch above and behind the eye. Ancient Romans originally used orca (pl. Despite his highly visible appearance, Tl’uk seems to be able to hold his own while hunting. ), Female killer whales begin to mature at around the age of 10 and reach peak fertility around 20,[163] experiencing periods of polyestrous cycling separated by non-cycling periods of three to 16 months. 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