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Gregory R. Mann, Ph.D. {ret.}

Dwarf Sperm Whale

“Kogia sima”

Dwarf Sperm Whales are small rare cetaceans with porpoise-like bodies that measure between 2.1-2.7 meters. The blowhole of these whales are found left of the melon and the skull is asymmetrical. Dwarf Sperm Whales are gray in color with a white ventral side, some with pink or purple blotches. The pectoral fin measures 40 centimeters high; the tail flukes measure 61 centimeters. The head measures about 1/6 the length of the body and the facial portion of the skull is the shortest of all cetaceans. Dwarf Sperm Whales have a mark on either side of the head known as a “false gill” because of its resemblance to the gill slits of fish, which it shares with the closely related Pygmy Sperm Whale. The Dwarf Sperm Whale has large curved sharp teeth in the lower jaw. Small non-functional teeth may be present in the upper jaw.

Dwarf Sperm Whales are a gregarious species often found in mixed-sex pods of 10 or fewer. They are sluggish animals occasionally seen floating in the water near the shore. They are often found in coastal waters near the surface, however they are also known to be deep divers. Dwarf Sperm Whales likely hunt near the ocean bottom on deep-sea cephalopods, fish and crustaceans. Little is known about the reproductive cycle of Dwarf Sperm Whales. Males and females sexually mature when they reach lengths of 2.1-2.2 meters. Gestation is thought to last about 9 months followed by a calving season of 4-5 months. Females are thought to give birth to 1 calf measuring about 1 meter long at birth. The rarity of Dwarf Sperm Whales exclude it from threats due to commercial hunting however, some scientists theorize that their scarcity may be due to extensive hunting in the past.

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