Dwarf Sperm Whale
Kogia simus

Other Names: Owen's Pygmy Sperm Whale

Habitat: Offshore and occasionally inshore

Status: Unknown

Population: Unknown

Threats: Unknown

Group Size: 1-2

Fin Position: Slightly behind center

Newborns: 39 in (1 m), 90-110 lb. (40-50 kg)

Adults: 7-9 ft (2.1-2.7 m), 300-605 lb. (135-275 kg)

Diet: Squid or octopus and occasionally fish and other crustaceans

Teeth: 0-6 on top row, 14-26 on bottom row


Dorsal fin:

- pointed tip
- concave trailing edge
- broad base


- slightly pointed tips
- broad, concave trailing edges
- slight notch in middle


- broad, short flippers
- located far forward on body


- blowhole displaced slightly to left
- snout to blowhole length less than one-tenth of total body length
- slightly pointed snout overlaps lower jaw
- tiny, underslung lower jaw
- false gill

Head (from below):

- long, curved, very sharp teeth

Other characteristics:

- bluish gray or dark gray-black back
- robust body tapers to tail
- body may appear wrinkled
- underside paler than upper side and sides and sometimes pinkish in color


- rises to the surface slowly and deliberately and, unlike most other small whales (which roll forward at the surface), simply drops out of sight
- when startled, may evacuate a reddish brown intestinal fluid and then dive, leaving behind a dense cloud in the water; this may function as a decoy, like the ink of a squid
- probably does not approach boats
- may occasionally breach, leaping vertically out of the water and falling back tail first of with a belly flop
- some records suggest that, when resting at the surface, it floats lower in the water than they Pygmy Sperm Whale
- probably dives to depths of at least 985 ft (300 m)


- deep temperate, subtropical, and tropical waters of the northern and southern hemispheres
- predominantly a deep-water species, possibly concentrated over the edges of the continental shelf (closer to shore than the Pygmy Sperm Whale)
- appears to prefer warmer waters and seems to be especially common off the southern tip of Africa and in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), Mexico, where it occurs particularly close to shore
- most records are from strandings, which are relatively common in some places, though these may simply represent areas of most research rather than a true picture of distribution
- lack of records of live animals may be due to inconspicuous behavior rather than rarity
- populations may be continuous around the world

TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet