Scientific name: Orcinus orca
Nature Stars: 100
About: Also known as Killer Whale, the Orca is the top predator in the world's oceans. A handsome black and white animal, the Orca is actually the largest member of the dolphin family, with males reaching up to 9 metres long and weighing up to 5 tonnes: that's about the same as 4 cars! Males are larger than females and have much taller dorsal fins, sometimes up to 1.8metres tall! They feed on fish, porpoises and, in Shetland and Orkney, particularly on seals.
How to identify: The black and white pattern and enormous dorsal fin make the Orca, if seen well, unmistakable.
Where: A rare visitor, mainly during the summer, to the coasts of western and northern Scotland. Particularly frequent around the Shetland and Orkney Islands.
Fantastic fact: Individual Orcas can be identified by looking at dorsal fin: the shape of the fin and the pattern of black and white on the 'saddle' is as unique as a finger print
Photograph credit: Paul Goodwin