Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   

General Information

Killer Whales are distinctively marked, with a black back, white chest and sides, and a white patch above and behind the eye. Calves are born with a yellowish or orange tint, which fades to white. Killer Whales have a heavy and stocky body and a large dorsal fin with a dark grey "saddle patch" at the fin's rear. Males can be up to 9.5 m long (31 ft) and weigh in excess of 6 tonnes; it has been reported that especially large males have reached nearer 8 tonnes. Females are smaller, reaching up to 8.5 m (28 ft) and a weight of about 5 tonnes. The longest Killer Whale ever recorded was a male from Washington state, measuring 9.8 m (32 ft). Calves at birth weigh about 180 kg and are about 2.4 m long (8 ft). The Killer Whale's large size and strength make them the fastest marine mammals, often reaching speeds in excess of 56 km/h (35mph).

  • States/US Territories in which the Killer Whale, Southern Resident DPS is known to or is believed to occur:  Washington
  • US Counties in which the Killer Whale, Southern Resident DPS is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the Killer Whale, Southern Resident DPS is known to occur:  Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
02/16/2006 National Marine Fisheries Service (National Marine Fisheries Service) Southern Resident DPS See 50 CFR 224.101

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
11/18/2005 70 FR 69903 69912 NMFS: Endangered Status for Southern Resident Killer Whales
11/29/2006 71 FR 69054 69070 Designation of Critical Habitat for Southern Resident Killer Whale (NMFS): Final rule.
04/04/2007 72 FR 16284 16286 Adding Four Marine Taxa to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Southern Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris), staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals, and the Southern Resident killer whale DPS (Orcinus orca)

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
01/17/2008 Recovery Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) View Implementation Progress Final

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
11/29/2006 71 FR 69054 69070 Designation of Critical Habitat for Southern Resident Killer Whale (NMFS): Final rule. Final Rule Final designated

To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab

» Conservation Plans

No conservation plans have been created for Killer Whale.

» Petitions

» Life History

No Life History information has been entered into this system for this species.

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.