Orcinus orca

The orca is the largest member of the dolphin family. The males can reach up to almost 10 m and have a very high dorsal fin, up to 1.8 m. Orcas can travel at 55 km/h - quite fast - however slower than their favourite prey: the tuna. As a result, we can often watch these animals lurking around small fisher boats to pinch the tuna directly of fishing lines.

  • Presence in the Strait of Gibraltar: July/August
  • Other names: killer whale, great killer whale, grampus

Interesting Facts

Suborder: toothed whales
Family: Delphinidae (dolphins)
Size: 5.5–9.5 m
Weight: 1.6–9 t
Diet: fish, cephalopodes, marine mammals, birds; 50–100 kg/day
Status: not endangered

Distinguishing Features

  • predominantly black body
  • white patterns on the underside of the body
  • white spot behind the eye
  • high, sword-shaped dorsal fin (males only)
  • lighter saddle patch behind the dorsal fin
  • big, paddle-shaped flippers