Like all other dolphins, Orcas are
Relationships with other Orcas
Orcas live in groups called pods. They have very strong
relationships with the other members of their pods. It is like
their family. The pods are matriarchal, meaning that they are
led by a female. Usually the oldest female within the pod is
the matriarch. It consists of several generations from the
same matriarch line or closely related martri-lines. Pods that
have common ancestor and similar dialects are considered a clan.
Clans that associate regularly and share the same habitat range is
called a community. There is little aggression between the
within or between the communities, which is ironic due to their
superior ability to hunt.
Orcas are very curious animals.
There are several accounts of them "putting on a show" in the wild.
Some of the common actions that Orcas do are:
jumping out of water and landing on side
slapping flukes on the surface of the water
hanging with head outside of the water
A captive Orca spyhopping by Scott
For transient Orcas, their pods
usually consists of two to six Orcas, though it is not uncommon to
see them traveling alone. Resident Orcas travel in pods of ten
to forty. Resident and transient pods seem to avoid each other
and an interaction between the two types has never been recorded.
Many researchers believe that
communities are also bound to each other by "cultural" similarities.
One of these cultural similarities is that each pod has its down
dialect for communication that differ by pitch, pattern, and number
of calls used. Pods will recognize the different dialects of
other pods but still within the same community. They are like
accents. Evidence of this can be seen in the reactions of
other animals to the calls. When mammals that would normally
be targets of transient Orcas hear the calls of resident Orca, they
do not react.
Orcas have a very complex relationship with other organisms that
is not completely understood. There have been documented
instances of some aquatic organisms that can be prey to Orcas
swimming along with the pods (ex. whales, dolphins, porpoises).
Orcas also interact with humans, some
regularly. There are countless stories of divers who get
nudged by Orcas in the wild, probably just to see what they are
doing. Orcas are also kept in captivity. They are easily
"domesticated" and can taught to do tricks on command.