The problem of categorization arises in any classification system because classes should be discrete while the characteristics of most natural objects and aspects of nature are more or less gradual. In systematics, this problem usually is solved by creating several levels of categories, such as class, order, family, genus and species. In the existing killer whale discrete call classification, only two levels occur – call type and call subtype. In this paper we describe structural categories at a broader level than call type in the discrete sounds of killer whales and compare these categories between and within vocal clans in a community of resident killer whales from Southeast Kamchatka, Russian Far East, and also with killer whales outside this community. We found four main classes of discrete calls in the repertoire of resident killer whales from Southeast Kamchatka. The calls of Southeast Kamchatka transient killer whales and Sakhalin killer whales do not fall into these classes. This suggests that the resident killer whale community from Southeast Kamchatka has some rules defining the structure of calls which are typical for this community. Consequently, all resident killer whales from Southeast Kamchatka can be said to share the same vocal tradition.
Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, calls, classification, Kamchatka