Species: Orcinus orca
5 to 9.8 m, weighing 2 500 to 9 500 kg
60 to 90 years
Killer Whales are found all over the world, in all oceans from polar to tropical.
Sexual maturity is reached between 10 and 15 years. Females give birth to a calf every 3 to 12 years after a 14 to 18-month gestation period. Births take place in autumn.
They are carnivores and feed on cetaceans, fish, molluscs, turtles, seals, sea lions, sea birds, etc. The Killer Whale can migrate if food resources become scarce.
Morphological characteristics for identification at sea
- Head: broad and round, very blunt rostrum
- Fins: dorsal fin curved to left or right, large paddle-shaped flippers up to 2 m in length
- Spout: apparent and bushy, raising 1 to 2 m high.
- Swim sequence: diving for sometimes up to 17 minutes to reach a depth below 250 m
- Colouring: black back, white flanks from chin to anus, oval white patch above and behind the eyes, grey patch or "saddle" behind the dorsal fin
Did you know?
Although only one species of Killer Whale has been officially identified to date, about ten different 'types' have been identified and may soon be classified as subspecies or as completely separate species.