Killer whales aren’t actually whales. They are dolphins.
Why are orcas called killer whales then? Well, when first discovered, the ancient sailors named this incredible species ‘asesina ballenas’ which means ‘whale killer’. After a while it was flipped around and orcas became known as killer whales. The Latin name for these wonderful creatures is orcinus orca. Orcinus meaning ‘of the kingdom of the dead’. However, killer whales are dolphins because they are members of the delphinidae family while whales are not.
Orcas are actually the most widely distributed species of whales and dolphins.They are found in every single ocean!
We do know that orca’s have quite a vicious way of fighting but I believe that it is rather unfair to name them killer whales as all creatures must kill in order to survive. Orcas are very skilled hunters and work excellently in teams. They slam their tails against the water, with great power, knocking seals and walruses off their ice floats. They also use this technique to stun the creature, making it an easier catch.
Do you believe that killer whale is an unfair nickname? If so, what alternate name would you give to orcas? I would love to hear your views, so please contact me with your ideas.