Taxonomy

Scientific name: Kogia breviceps.
Order: Artiodactyla.
Family: Kogiidae.
Genus: Kogia.

 

IUCN Status

Data deficient

 

Other names

Lesser cachalot.
Short-headed sperm whale.
Lesser sperm whale.

 

Appearance

Pygmy sperm whales are small whales, growing up to 3.8 meters in length. They are dark grey to dark blue and black, which fades to white, pale pink, or pale blue on their underbelly. In front of their eyes, they have white patches, whilst their eyes are circled in black. The dorsal fin is small and has a small hook. Pygmy sperm whales have a blunt head, but no visible blow.

 

Habitat and distribution

Currently, there is no estimated population. They live in subtropical to tropical deep waters. Pygmy sperm whales have been found in deep waters in the south of the Bay of Biscay.

 

Behaviour

Pygmy sperm whales are very shy and tend to avoid boats. They are normally found alone or in pods of 6 to 7. Instead of rolling back into the ocean, they sink like a stone underneath the surface.

 

Confusion with other species

Dwarf sperm whales: they are similar in size, but smaller with a more obvious dorsal fin.

 

Threats

Pygmy sperm whales can accidentally become entangled in fishing nets, which can lead to injuries.

 

Interesting facts

They have false gills behind their eyes.

 

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