Illustrations by

© M.Würtz/

killer whale

Orcinus orca

Killer Whale | Orca

The Killer Whale is the largest cetacean belonging to the Delfinidae family. It has one of the most complex social structures in the animal kingdom and is found in all the seas and oceans of our planet.

Features: The body is black on the back and white on the belly, with a grey saddle, located behind the dorsal fin and two white spots behind the eyes. It has a marked sexual dimorphism in the adult: females are smaller than males and with the dorsal fin is lower and slightly stride. The males, instead, in addition to reaching a larger size, have a higher fin and almost straight margins. It has 20-24 teeth per jaw.

Max Lenght: 8-9 m

Max Weight: over 5 tons

Longevity: 50 yrs

Max Dive Time: 20 min

Max Dive Depth: – 1000 m

Speed: around 55 km/h

Food Diet: very varied (herring, tuna, marine mammals) according to regions and ecotypes

IUCN Red List: DD – data deficient

Threats: pollution, intensive fishing for their prey, noise pollution.