These apex predators are the only living species in the genus Orcinus. Orcas can be found in every ocean and are the "most widely distributed of all cetaceans," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
To learn more about these majestic ocean dwellers, including how long they live, read on.
How long do orcas live?
How long an orca lives depends on its sex. Females live longer than males. In fact, some female orcas have outlived their male counterparts by more than 20 years, according to the nonprofit Wild Orca.
In the wild, the average lifespan of a female orca is 46 years, with a maximum of 90 years, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. In comparison, the average lifespan of a male orca in the wild is 30 years, with a maximum of 60 years.
Are orcas dolphins?
Yes, but there's more to it than that. To understand the nuances, it is important to dive a bit deeper into the taxonomy.
Taxonomy is "the science of naming, describing and classifying organisms and includes all plants, animals and microorganisms of the world," according to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Taxonomy helps us define all living organisms on Earth by placing them into specific categories.
Orcas are a part of the animal group Cetacea, which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, cetaceans are divided into two orders: Mysteceti (or baleen whales, which don't have teeth) and Odontoceti (or toothed whales).
Toothed whales are split into five families:
Narwhals and belugas
Each family is classified based on certain traits, genes and features. As a result, orcas are a part of the oceanic dolphin family or Delphinidae. To be specific, orcas are the largest member of the dolphin family, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
In short, all dolphins are whales, but not all whales are dolphins.
So, orcas are whales and dolphins.
What do orcas eat?
Orcas have a diverse diet and hunt for many different types of food. According to National Geographic, they hunt for fish, walruses, seals, sea lions, penguins, squid, sea turtles, sharks and other whales.
An orca's diet is also seasonal, meaning it evolves based on what's available.
No matter what's on the menu, orcas eat a lot. On average, an orca can eat around 500 pounds of food per day, according to National Geographic.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How long do Orcas live? Fast facts on killer whale's lifespan, diet