Killer whales are probably one of the best known marine species within cetaceans, specifically from the Delphinidae family . Another species of this family, much less well known, is the false killer whale, black killer whale or psuedorca and shares many of the characteristics with the killer whale, also called killer whale. However, both species have their clear differences that help us distinguish them although, of course, they also share many similarities.
Main characteristics of the killer whale
The killer whale ( Orcinus orca ) is the only member of its genus belonging to the Delphinidae family . It is the largest species in the dolphin family , which is why it is mistaken for a whale .
Its most distinctive feature (and best identified by all) is the black and white color of its skin. In fact, the body of this dolphin is completely black, except for the belly, the lower part of its mouth and two small white ovals next to the eyes. They have a triangular dorsal fin, which can reach two meters, and which is bent in some species due to blows or fights with other killer whales or prey. They have a large tail fin, with which they are capable of moving in the water up to 50 km / h and with which they are capable of attacking their prey with great speed . The specimens of this species can measure up to 10 meters in length , although larger specimens have been discovered.
It is common to find killer whales swimming in the company of members of the same group, which can reach up to 20 specimens. In these groups of killer whales , each one often seeks protection, benefits from group hunting, or finds a mate to mate with. The killer whale is a very cosmopolitan species, as it usually inhabits the world’s oceans.
The fame of killers that these animals have is due to the violence of their attacks, although they are mistakenly called killer whales . Killer whales have large teeth that can reach up to 8 centimeters, which they use to grab their prey, rather than to chew, since they swallow them whole, although of course with these teeth, in case the prey is large, they can exercise increased pressure and swallow them in parts.
The prey they hunt range from small fish to large predators such as whales, sharks and other dolphins, although their preference is small prey, such as tuna, sea lions or seals. Killer whales do not usually attack humans or boats they encounter, except when they are very threatened or are very hungry.
Reproduction and birth
These species usually breed in late winter and early spring and seek warmer seas. To attract females, males often make sounds and whistles. When mating begins, the two killer whales separate from the group and begin to touch each other with their snouts and the rest of the body, until they copulate. The gestation period usually lasts up to 16 months. Usually one calf is born at a time, weighing up to 180 kg and two meters in length.
The false killer whale or black killer whale , or scientifically known as Pseudorca crassidens , is a little-known species belonging to the Delphinidae family .
These marine mammals have an elongated body, with a flat bill and a prominent upper jaw, being able to protrude over the lower one. The coloring of their bodies is usually uniform, the usual tones range from dark gray to black . The false killer whale has a dorsal fin up to 30 cm high, with a pointed to rounded end and curved backwards. Their lateral fins are usually pointed ends and forming an angle of 45 degrees towards the rear.
The black killer whale is the third largest dolphin in the world, with an average size of 5.5 meters in males and 4.5 meters in females. Their young usually reach up to 1.50 meters at birth.
The false killer whale is a very active, playful and vigorous swimming species. This species is characterized by swimming close to boats, near the bows and by playing jumping and hitting the water with its tail.
Usually, they move in groups of between 10 and 60 specimens, forming groups that maintain close ties with each other and that can incorporate individuals from other herds.
Food and habitat
Their diet is based on fish such as tuna or cod, cetaceans smaller than them, such as humpback whales, dolphins or sperm whales, and cephalopods, such as squid. They usually inhabit oceanic waters with temperatures from warm to warm and usually in deep waters.
The false killer whale or black or gray killer whale has received this name for its common characteristics with killer whales, with which it shares some similarities in its appearance or the choice of prey. Both are large dolphins , although the killer whales are larger than the false killer whales , and have a gray / black coloration, but with white spots in the case of the killer whale. Also, the false killer whale has a more agile body than the real killer whale.
The killer whale has a large dorsal fin, compared to that of the false killer whale, which can be linear or rounded. Regarding food, the false killer whale has been less studied, although it has been seen that it feeds on dolphins and small whale calves, so they can show signs of aggression towards other species of dolphins.