Pygmy Sperm Whale – Kogia breviceps
The Pygmy Sperm Whale belongs to the family of the Sperm Whales and is therefore part of the infraorder of the whales (Cetaceans). Kogia breviceps was first described in 1838 by Blainville.
Together with the Dwarf Sperm Whale, it forms the genus of the Dwarf Sperm Whales (Kogia).
Description, Anatomy & Characteristics
With a maximum of 3.30m and 400kg, the Pygmy Sperm Whale is slightly larger than its nearest relative, the Dwarf Sperm Whale.
With young animals, the mouth is still quite pointed, while it becomes more and more angular and rectangular with increasing age.
In its lower jaw are 20 to 32 bent and sharp teeth. The upper jaw however is toothless.
Kogia breviceps has a blue-grey back, the underside is white to light-pink coloured. On both sides there is a light strip, which begins at the eyes and runs to the flippers.
Habitat, Distribution & Occurrence
The Pygmy Sperm Whale lives in all oceans worldwide. The south coast of Ireland is the northernmost point where they are sighted/stranded and in the Pacific a little north of Japan.
They rarely come close to the coast as they prefer to be in deep waters.
It should be mentioned here that most of the data on the distribution area are based on strandings. In the southeast of the USA they are the second most common species to be stranded. They are also found very frequently in South Africa.
Biology & Feeding
Since one can observe the Pygmy Sperm Whale only rarely in the wild, one knows also only little about its way of life.
If they come to the surface, this happens without much water splashes or blowing. Also when diving down there are no special features. Sometimes you can see them floating motionless on the water surface.
Even if they are observed solitary now and then, they normally live in groups of up to 6 animals.