Animals

First Underwater Footage Of Rare Type D Orca

Friday, 2 March

For the first time, a rare variety of orca known as Type D has been filmed underwater. Tour vessel passengers returning to South America from an Antarctic voyage last December got a surprise. A pod of unusual orcas, or killer whales, surfaced.

Scientists on board identified them as Type D, or Subantarctic orcas distinguished from other types by their bulbous heads and very small white eye patches. A crew used the opportunity to go out in a Zodiac for a closer look.

The rarest of four orca varieties found in the Southern Hemisphere, few have ever been seen. They favour a zone in the ocean given to rough weather, and far from coasts, making them especially hard to find. Only recently identified as genetically distinct, Type D may constitute a subspecies—or even their own species.

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