Whales are giant creatures that live in the sea. They look like fish, but are not. Whales belong to the group of animals called mammals. Whales belong to the group of mammals called cetaceans, which comes from a Latin word meaning large sea animal. There are two major groups of whales. The first group is mysticeti (baleen whales), and the other isodontoceti (toothed whales). In the group odontoceti, there is a family of whales called delphinidae (dolphins and small toothed whales). In this report, I will focus on a species of whale that comes from this family, and that species is the killer whale, or also known as orcinus orca, or just orca. The largest and most striking of the dolphin family, the killer whale is one of the most fearsome predators of the deep. Killer whales are basically the same shape as fish, but they differ in many ways. One of the most obvious differences is the tail fin. Fish have vertical tail fins, while whales have horizontal tail fins. One of the most distinctive features of orcas is the tall, wide dorsal fin located on its back. In females, the dorsal fin can grow to about 2 feet high. It is falcate (hooked or curved). In males, the dorsal fin is triangular in shape and can grow up to about 6 feet high. Another distinctive feature of killer whales is that they possess a sleek, black and white pigmentation pattern. A white patch is located above and behind the eye. An extensive white ventral patch extends onto the flanks (sides). There is a gray saddle behind the dorsal fin, which is black at birth. (Hoyt, Pg. 32) At birth, orcas are about 2.1 to 2.4 meters long and weigh about 180 kilograms. When they are adults, males grow to about 9.5 meters long weighing 8 tons or more. Females grow to 8.2 meters long and weigh 4-6 tons. Orcas have robust and graceful bodies with a conical or rounded head. (Hoyt, Pg. 97) It has no distinct beak. They have straigh…
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