Puneet Varma (Editor)

A30 matriline

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A30 matriline

The A30 matrilineal is the name given to the most commonly seen orca matriline in British Columbia. The matriline is currently made of 2 generations, with a total of 10 individuals. It is one of the 3 matrilines in A1 pod, one of the 10 pods of the A-clan. The matriline was present in over 60% of all of the encounters in the Johnstone Strait region, making it one of the best known matrilines. The group's size has increased, from 6 in the mid-1970s to 10 as of 2013, including 4 calves. It is most frequently seen in Johnstone Strait from late spring to early fall, often traveling with other pods of the Northern Resident Community.


  • A38, Tsitika's oldest son, also known as Blackney. (born est. 1970). At 40 years old, Blackney is one of the oldest males in the northern resident community. Like his mother, Blackney has a very curved dorsal fin which makes him instantly recognizable. Blackney was most often seen swimming next to his mother while she was alive.
  • A39, Tsitika's youngest son also known as Pointer. (born 1975). Pointer's dorsal fin is very much like that of his older brother Blackney and the two are becoming difficult to tell apart.
  • A50, Tsitika's oldest daughter, also known as Clio. (born 1984)
  • A54, Tsitika's youngest daughter, also known as Blinkhorn or Minstrel. (born 1989). Blinkhorn became a mother at the early age of 12 with the birth of Cedar (A75) in 2001.
  • A72, Clio's first offspring, also known as Bend. (born 1999). Bend is a young female. Bend has a distinctive cut at the middle of her dorsal fin, the cause of which is not known.
  • A75, Blinkhorn's first daughter, also known as Cedar.(born 2001)
  • A84, Clio's second offspring, also known as Klaoitsis.(born 2005) His/Her sex has not been determined yet.
  • A86, Blinkhorn's second offspring, also known as Cutter. (born 2006) His/Her sex has not been determined yet.
  • A93, Blinkhorn's third offspring, also known as Cypress. (born 2009). His/Her sex has not been determined yet.
  • A99, Clio's third offspring, also known as Alder. (born 2011). His/Her sex has not been determined yet.
  • Deceased Individuals

  • A2, better known as Nicola was one of the most famous and recognizable killer whales of the coast. She was Tsitika's mother and died in 1989, letting her daughter be the matriarch. As Nicola was the oldest female of the subpod when the study began in the Pacific Northwest in 1973, it was first named "A2 subpod" and was later changed to A30. She was born around 1927.
  • A3, also known as Wavy was Nicola's only son and was already mature when first identified, so he is estimated to have been born in the early 50s. He died in 1979.
  • A30, also known as Tsitika Estimated to have been born in 1947, Tsitika was one of the oldest killer whales in the northern resident community and one of the few orcas that was already a reproductive mother when first seen in the early 1970s. She was very recognizable, due to the distinctive curve of her dorsal fin.
  • A6, also known as Strider was Tsitika's oldest son. He was very recognizable due to his notch near the top of his dorsal fin and with his two brothers, he formed a 3-bull trio, making the group very easy to identify. He is estimated to have been born around 1964 and died in 1999. Strider is also the known father of Sutlej (A45) making him the grandfather of Springer (A73)
  • A40, was Tsitika's fourth offspring born in 1981 and died in 1983. Little is known about A40 because of the little time this one had before his/her death.
  • A30 Matrilineal as Research Subjects

    This matriline has been studied extensively, particularly in order to establish vocal behavior among Killer Whales. One study of this matriline established that Killer Whales increase the use of family-specific calls shortly after the birth of a calf. This increased calling is believed to facilitate the learning of the family-based calls and assist in maintaining family cohesion. This matriline was also studied in an effort to understand how calls vary among pods and among matrilines within pods.

    Current status

    As of 2013, the A30 Matriline is formed by ten whales. In 1999 Tsitika's first grand calf arrived and that was Clio (A50)'s first offspring, Bend (A72). In 2001 the family welcomed the arrival of Cedar (A75), Blinkhorn (A54)'s first offspring and in 2005 Clio gave birth to her second calf, Klaoitsis (A84). In 2006 Blinkhorn gave birth to Cutter (A86). By using DNA testing it was found out that Bend (A72) is a female around last summer. The newest addition to the A30 matriline is Blinkhorn's third calf, A94, born in 2009. The A30s are still one of the most frequently encountered matrilines. In the summer, they are often seen in the company of other A1 subpods or with A4 or A5 Pod.


    A30 matriline Wikipedia