Glacier Bay Explorer


Artist: Cody Edwards
Artist: Cody Edwards
Killer whales are actually the largest member of the dolphin family. Three distinct killer whale ecotypes have been documented in Glacier Bay.  These ecotypes are genetically distinct and do not interbreed, though they are all considered to be the same species. “Transient” killer whales prey exclusively on marine mammals such as harbor seals, Steller sea lions, porpoises and occasionally other whales.  They typically hunt either alone or in small pods and generally remain silent so as not to alert their marine mammal prey to their presence. “Resident” killer whales prey primarily on fish, especially salmon, vocalize more often and travel in large, matrilineal pods. A third “offshore” ecotype has been discovered only recently and appears to visit Glacier Bay infrequently. They are little known and studied, but seem to spend most of their time in the open ocean away from shore.

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