The killer whale is also known as the orca. The name orca comes from one of the Latin words that means "whale". The scientific name for the Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, is derived from this Latin word. Killer whales are, in fact, the largest and fastest members of the dolphin family. They have a dorsal fin which is taller than that of any other species of whale.

photo M. Noonan

Orcas are impressive top predators of the ocean with a highly developed social structure. They have a cosmopolitan range, which means that they are found in almost all of the world’s oceans. People can often see pods of wild orcas close to the shore and orcas are also viewed performing complex behaviors in ocenaria around the world. Killer whales have earned a somewhat special position in the eyes of man because of their impressive size, striking coloration, and apparent intelligence. Today, many people are working hard to raise public awareness of the threats that killer whales face in the wild in hopes of conserving the killer whales for generations to come.

If you would like to learn more about killer whales and also more about how you can help them, then please follow the links in the menu at the left.

Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.