Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Cetacea · Physeteridae · Kogia sima
  Smithsonian Institution
  Copyright Notice
  Privacy Notice
 
Kogia sima

Dwarf Sperm Whale

Order: Cetacea
Family: Physeteridae

Image of Kogia sima
Click to enlarge. (43 kb)

Conservation Status: Data Deficient.


The dwarf sperm whale is similar to the pygmy sperm whale, but is smaller and has a larger, taller dorsal fin, higher on its back, that looks like the dorsal fin of a bottlenose dolphin.  Dwarf sperm whales live in small social groups. There are groups of females with calves; groups of males and females without calves; and groups of young whales who are not yet sexually mature. A form of defensive behavior called “inking” has been seen in both species of Kogia. To escape danger, the whale excretes a cloud of reddish-brown feces and then dives out of sight. Most other information has come from dissecting individuals who stranded and died. Squid, fish, crustaceans - and plastic bags - have been found in their stomachs.

Length:
Range: 2.1-2.7 m

Weight:
Range: 136-272 kg

References:

Owen, R., 1866.  On some Indian cetacea collected by Walter Elliot, Esq. Trans. Zool. Soc., 6:30.  London, 6:17-47.

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Kogia sima