The Killer Whale By Orcinus Orca

1140 Words Oct 10th, 2016 5 Pages
The killer whale, Orcinus orca, is one of the most widely distributed marine mammals in the world, most commonly found in colder waters, such as the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Antarctic. While killer whales are most abundant in colder waters, they can be found all throughout ocean, including in tropical, subtropical, and offshore waters (NOAA Fisheries, 2015). Due to the black and white coloration of its body, the killer whale is one of the most easily identifiable species, allowing for populations to be spotted by researchers, as well as the public. This highly social species are most often found in small groups, but may sometimes congregate to form a large group for social interaction, mating, or for high concentrations of prey (Esteban et al., 2016, p. 298).
While there are many different populations and social organizations within the O. orca species, the Southern Resident killer whale population, the only population in the United States is at risk of extinction as its population continues to decline. According to NOAA Fisheries (2015), a killer whale population is considered to be “resident” due to a few noticeable differences in appearance and behaviors. Resident whales primarily eat fish, have five recognized color patterns, and have a dorsal fin that is curved, tapering, and rounded at the tip. The Southern Resident killer whale population is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).
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