Category of Organisms Marine Mammals
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum/Division Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cetacea
Family Delphinidae
Genus Orcinus
Species orca
Binomial Name
Orcinus orca
Author Linnaeus, 1758
Common Name Killer whale
Local Name  
Size Range
Males range from 6-8 m long (19-26 ft). Females are smaller, generally ranging from 5-7 m (16-23 ft). Calves at birth weigh about 180 kg (350-500 lb) and are about 2.4 m long (6-8 ft).
Killer Whale rank among the most widely ranging mammals of the world. As true “cosmopolitans” they populate all of the oceans in both hemispheres, from the edges of the pack ice to the warmer subtropical and tropical seas. The species generally dwells within 800 km of the open seas. Although they prefer deeper waters, they can occasionally be encountered in shallow bays and estruaries.
Many Killer Whales gather off the Norwegian islands of Lofoten and Vesteralen from October until January. Up to 500 specimens are regularly counted at this time in Tysfjord and Oftfjord alone. Vancouver Island (West Canada) also has a fairly large resident population.
Endemic No
Found in Marine Park No
Found in Malaysia Yes
Orcas are distinctively marked with a black back, white chest and sides, and a white patch above and behind the eye. Calves are born with a yellowish or orange tint, which fades to white. Orcas have a heavy and stocky body and a large dorsal fin with a dark grey "saddle patch" at the fin's rear. Antarctic Orcas may have pale grey to nearly white backs.
The Orca's large size and strength make it among the fastest marine mammals, often reaching speeds in excess of 56 km/h (35 mph. Unlike most dolphins, the pectoral fin of an Orca is large and rounded, more of a paddle than other dolphin species. Males have significantly larger pectoral fins than females. At about 1.8 m (6 ft), the male's dorsal fin is more than twice the size of the female's and is more of a triangular shape, a tall, elongated isosceles triangle whereas the dorsal fin of the female is shorter and generally more curved.

Males typically range from 6-8 m long (19-26 ft) and weigh in excess of 6 tonnes. Females are smaller, generally ranging from 5-7 m (16-23 ft) and weighing about 3 to 4 tons. The largest Orca ever recorded was a male off the coast of Japan, measuring 9.8 m (32 ft) and weighing over 8 tonnes. Calves at birth weigh about 180 kg (350-500 lb) and are about 2.4 m long (6-8 ft).
Males become sexually mature at the age of 15 but do not typically reproduce until age 21. Male Orcas generally do not live as long as females. In the wild, males average 30 years, with a maximum of 50–60 years in exceptional cases.
The Orca is an apex predator. They are sometimes called the wolves of the sea, because they hunt in packs like wolves. On average, an Orca eats 227 kg (500 lb) of food each day
Status in IUCN Red List Data Deficient (DD)
Status in CITES Species Database II
Other Link(s)
Collection Record