Orca vs Killer whale
It should be a well understood fact that there is no pronounced biological difference between orca and killer whale, but the two names are different in their origins. That means, the names killer whale and orca are two names originated in different places but used to refer to the same animal. This article describes some of the main biological aspects of the killer whale and then discusses the difference between the origins of the two names.
Killer whale, Orcinus orca, is commonly known as orca, and it is a toothed whale belongs to dolphin family. Technically, killer whale is a dolphin with an extra large body with a super ability to hunt in the sea. Usually, they are distributed in every ocean of the world. They are serious carnivores depending on fish and other marine mammals such as sea lions as their food. Orcas are apex predators of the marine ecosystem. They are highly social, and the populations are made up of matrilineal family groups. They exhibit some well-developed and sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviors. Some of the killer whale species are named as endangered species by the IUCN, as the rapid declining of the population. However, they reach the sexual maturity at around age of 15 years. They show poly oestrus cycling with non-cycling period between three and sixteen months, which means, naturally, they demonstrate irregular cycling. The mother orca gives birth to a single offspring once in every five-year, like elephants. They are long-lived animals with an average lifespan about 50 years. They are vocal and have complex communication patterns developed for different purposes. Orcas are considered as a very intelligent animal, and they have the second heaviest brain among marine mammals. They can be easily trained as they can imitate the others, and there is famous killer whale shows in theme parks. Their playfulness and intelligence have been the main causes on top of the ease of training to keep them in captivity and perform shows in theme parks.
Is there any difference between Orca and Killer Whale?
Despite the fact that scientists, as well as general people, are using both these names, English-speaking scientists seem to prefer the name killer whale. The generic name Orcinus means that they belong in the kingdom of dead. Therefore, ancient Romans referred this animal as orca, and then it was used on many other dolphin species, as well. However, since 1960s, many people preferably referred the term orca to cover up some negative undertones of the name killer whale.