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Answer Key

1)What is an Orca Whale, does it have another name?


Orca Whales are also known as Killer Whales. They are the largest member of the dolphin
family. They are highly intelligent, highly adaptable and are able to communicate and coordinate
hunting tactics.
2)What does the Orca Whale look like?
Orca Whales have a large black body, a white underside, a white patch above and behind the
eye, and a grey 'saddle patch' behind the dorsal fin. They grow up to nearly 10 metres long, male
orcas are larger than females and have a tall dorsal fin - up to nearly 2 metres in height. The tall
sword-shaped and strikingly visible dorsal fin makes them almost unmistakable at sea. Female
length is about 20% less and the curved dorsal fin is less than half the height of the males.
3)How do Orca Whales like to hunt?
Killer whales hunt in deadly pods, family groups of up to 40 individuals. There appear to be both
resident and transient pod populations of killer whales. These different groups may prey on
different animals and use different techniques to catch them. Resident pods tend to prefer fish,
while transient pods target marine mammals. All pods use effective, cooperative hunting
techniques that some liken to the behavior of wolf packs.
4)What do Orca Whales like to hunt?scroll down to diet

harbor seals
Dall's porpoises
harbor porpoise
California sea lions
gray whale calves
Steller sea lions
elephant seals
minke whales
various other species of pinnipeds and cetaceans

5)What are different populations, species or subspecies of Orca Whales?


Three distinct forms, or ecotypes, of killer whales:
1.Resident Killer Whales are noticeably different from both transient and offshore forms. The
dorsal fin is rounded at the tip and curved and tapering, or "falcate". Resident whales have a
variety of saddle patch pigmentations with five different patterns recognized. They've been
sighted from California to Russia. Resident whales primarily eat fish.
2.Bigg's (Transient) Killer Whales occur throughout the eastern North Pacific, and have
primarily been studied in coastal waters. Their geographic range overlaps that of the resident and
offshore killer whales. The dorsal fin of transient whales tends to be straighter at the tip than
those of resident and offshore whales.7 Saddle patch pigmentation of transient killer whales is
restricted to two patterns, and the large areas of black color don't mix into the white of the saddle
patch that is seen in resident and offshore types. Transient type whales are often found in longterm stable social units of less than 10 whales, smaller than resident social groups. Transient
killer whales feed nearly exclusively on other marine mammals

3.Offshore Killer Whales are similar to resident whales, but can be distinguished generally8 by
features such as their: rounded fins with multiple nicks on the edge, smaller overall size,
tendency for males and females to be more similar in size. Offshores have the largest geographic
range of any killer whale community in the northeastern Pacific and often occur 9 miles (15 km)
or more offshore. But, they also visit coastal waters and occasionally enter protected inshore
waters. Animals typically congregate in groups of 20-75 animals with occasional sightings of
larger groups up to 200 whales. They are presumed to feed primarily on fish, though they have
been documented feeding on sharks. Genetic analyses indicate that offshore killer whales are
reproductively isolated from other forms of killer whales. Offshore killer whales are among the
least observed and understood of all killer whale populations.
6)What are some Interesting facts about Orca Whales?
Can be anything on this page they find interesting or one of these four:
-Killer

whales are social animals that live in stable family-related groups. Killer whales display a
high level of care for their offspring. In addition to the mothers, various pod members (mainly
adolescent females) perform most of the care for the calves. As with most mammals, killer
whales are very protective of their young.
-Different killer whale pods "sound" different. Each pod has their own dialect of sounds. They
can easily recognize their own pod from several miles away based on the differences in calls.
-Killer whales are often compared to wolves because both species are top predators, maintain
complex social relationships, and hunt cooperatively.
-To some, killer whales look exactly alike however they can be distinguished from one another
by the shape and size of their dorsal fins, the distinctive grayish-white saddle patches behind
their dorsal fins, as well as distinctive scars, nicks and marks on their dorsal fins.
7)Where do Orca Whales live?
These animals seem to prefer cooler waters, but may be found from warm waters around the
Equator to polar waters. They may enter semi-enclosed seas, river mouths, and ice-riddled areas,
in addition to inhabiting waters far out in the open ocean.
8)How do Orca Whales communicate?
Killer whales produce sounds for two overlapping functions: communicating and navigation (in
the form of echolocation).Killer whales produce whistles, echolocation clicks, pulsed calls, lowfrequency pops, and jaw claps. A killer whale makes sounds by moving air between nasal sacs in
the blowhole region.