Arctic animal of the day 30: the killer whale

Arctic animal of the day 30. The killer whale (Orcinus orca) commonly enters Arctic waters in search of unsuspecting fish, seals, squid and other whales to eat. Its common name is in fact an error, as this animal is actually the largest dolphin, not a whale! In the seas, killer whales are undoubtedly at the very top of the food chain, above great white sharks. The name “Orcinus orca” comes from Orcus, the Roman god of death and the underworld (Free Willy didn’t seem all that scary!) They don’t really like ice, which is why they generally don’t move into the deep Arctic basins. However, as the ice decreases, scientists and fishermen are seeing more and more of them come in. This could cause a shift in the food web, with killer whales replacing polar bears as the new king of the Arctic…

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