Killer Whales – 5 Most Popular Types of Killer Whales
Killer whales are amongst the most recognizable killer whale species. They have a massive white body, black underneathbelly, a water mask above and behind the head, and a black water patch just above their eye area. Male killer whales may grow up to 10 feet (normally) long, with an average dorsal fin length of 2.8 feet. Female killer whales, however, are only about 20 percent shorter than male killer whales, and have flat dorsal fins only slightly above the water’s surface.
Unlike some other types of whales, killer whales do not usually eat fish. They feed primarily on freshly killed prey such as seal, roosterfish, and crab, but occasionally eat small fish and aquatic invertebrates. These types of creatures are called “bird eaters,” as they often feed on birds. One of the main reasons why the Alaska’s marine wildlife population has declined is that many of these smaller species have become endangered or rare.
Killer whales are great swimmers, capable of swimming for long periods of time. Due to the increased number of seals that have been trapped and killed by commercial fishing activities in the Alaskan seafood industry, the number of sea lions has also increased. Seals play an important role in the ecosystem by reducing the impact of shipping lines on the Alaskan economy. In addition, seals help eliminate one of the main sources of commercial fish in the Alaskan markets, while protecting the young calves that are born each spring. The two species work together, successfully managing the fisheries industry in Alaska.
In terms of fish, the Alaska halibut is among the top predators in the world. The sleek skin, long fins, and bold personalities make them unique and highly prized additions to a salmon fishing tackle box. Alaska halibut is highly valued for its delicious white meat and because of its size (can grow to be over twenty feet long). Because of their popularity, Alaska halibut is protected in most of the state. The state of Alaska works with a group of commercial and sportsmen organizations to manage and promote the harvest of this species.
The most aggressive of all the killer whales in Alaska’s marine waters are the Orca (orca), the largest of the orca species. These gentle giants can grow to over twenty feet in length! Orcas hunt and feed in deeper waters during the summer when their food supply is more plentiful. Their diet includes fish, squid, rockfish, crabs, and walnuts. Typically, a pod of orcas will hold a territory extending from one to four miles, depending on the location and availability of prey.
Lastly, one of the most unusual types of killer whales is the kind that lives in Antarctica. These creatures, called type c killer whales, number only around ten to fifteen in number and, though they have strong bodies and long necks, their foreheads are actually quite small. They hunt solely on smell and, because of their body shape, are best known for their hunting of seals and icebergs in the colder waters around Antarctica. There are only around three thousand of this type c killer whales in the wild, although there are some communities in captivity.