The World of Wild Orcas
Resident- The Resident group is divided into two subgroups; Northern Resident, and Southern Resident, and thus again divided into 9 pods, labeled A, B, C, D, G, H, I, R, and W for Northern Residents, and J, K, and L for Southern Residents.. These orcas are the ones more commonly sighted in the Pacific Northwest, and up into Alaska and Canada. They feed mainly upon a variety of fish and squid. The individuals in these groups live in a tightly knit social network, and use a variety of different dialects. Resident males are known on occasion to leave their groups for short periods of time to mate with other groups (considering orcas never mate within their own pod), but return soon after. Females are identified by their dorsal fins with rounded tips, and the fact that they dont spend as much time with their mothers as other orcas do, males on the other hand spend a considerable amount of more time with their mothers than others. The Southern Resident Population as of 2007 has about 90 individuals (not including Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium), while the Northern Resident group has well over 200 members.
<< Resident Orca Pod
Transient- These orcas are divided into 14 pods, labeled E, F, N, O, M, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. They do not eat fish, but instead rely on a variety of marine mammals to fulfil their diet, among them include Minke whales, Gray Whales, and a variety of seals and sealions, as well on some occasions dolphins and porpoises. They can be seen off the coasts of Alaska, Oregon, California, and even Japan. Transient pods on average consist of about 1-7 members, but more so only about 3-4. They can easily travel over 250 miles in a day and have a 900 mile range. Transient orca's dorsal fins are usually more pointed thant other orcas. There is believed to be atleast 170 Transient members roaming the oceans at this point in time.
<< A pod of Transient orcas
Offshore- Despite their name, these orcas are more often seen in deeper water out in the open oceans. They are a relatively new group of orcas, only discovered back in 1988. They are usually seen traveling in groups, consiting of between 30-60 members. Their diet consists mainly of turtles, sharks, and stingrays. They are usually harder to identify than other orca groups, the dorsal fins of the females are more rounded. They have and can be seen throughout the Pacific, off California and Southeast Alaska, as well as off Vancouver Island.
<< Typical Offshore orca pod
There have also been a variety of orca groups sighted off Iceland, they have been divided into 3 categories, and they go as followed:
Type A- Looks like your basic orca, they feed mainly on Minke whales off of the coast of Iceland
Type B- Usually feeds on Seals, and is smaller than Type A orcas.
<< Type B group of orcas
Type C- The smallest type of Icelandic orca and easily distinguished do to the fact its eye patch is slanted downwards, they feed on a variety of toothfish.
The types listed above are only a handful of the currently documented orca populations. Many new populations, if not species, have yet to be discovered.