Subject: Killer Whales

Peter Scheifele (
Mon, 01 Feb 1999 10:12:58 -0500

At 06:42 PM 1/29/99 EST, you wrote:
>How   did    killer  whales    get     ther    name?

It is believed that "Orcinus" is a Latin derivative of "orca" meaning
"whale" or to "orcynus" another latin word for a tuna.  They tend to eat
other marine mammals of which seals are a favourite.  To this end, they are
an apex predator and the hunt in packs (much like wolves) in a very
coordinated effort.  In whaling days they were known to strip a harpooned
whale clean before it could be brought aboard the vessel.  Whalers and
fishermen consider them to be a nuisance and they have even been referred to
as the devil.  Today we have a better understanding of them and the are
viewed with both affection and awe.
Peter M. Scheifele
Bioacoustics Research
Marine Operations Manager
Education Programs Director
National Undersea Research Center
North Atlantic and Great Lakes

Peter M. Scheifele
Senior Bioacoustician
University of Rhode Island
Department of Ocean Engineering
Bioacoustics Research

Voice:  (860) 405-9103
FAX:  (860) 445-2969