Happy Mothers Day!
We thought on this special day we would let you know just how much of a mommies’ boy and girl Orcas can be!
Orca live in family pods that are matrilineal which, means the females are in charge!
In Resident Orca a typical matriline is composed of an older female (the matriarch) her sons and daughters’ and her daughters’ offspring. A mother and her children, including her sons will stay together for life. One 35-year study showed that there was no dispersal in Resident Killer Whale pods, males and females stay with their mum for life and only stray for a short period of time. A few rare cases involving orphans shows divergence from a pod.
In Transient Orca, mature daughters who have their own offspring may separate off from their mother ( the matriarch) but will usually be found near by or rejoin the group for a time after she has given birth. This often happens with Transient Orca to keep the group to a small stealthy number as the prey on marine mammals.
The males you see in the close family groups of both ecotypes are not the father of any calves you may also see in the same group. That male will either be a brother or perhaps an uncle- that makes them a real mummies boy!
Both ecotypes of Orca have been seen in larger groups on occasion, these are thought of as social gatherings and sometimes even a chance for mating to occur.
Stay safe, Stay happy!
Onboard Naturalist/Biologist for SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours