Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Species Account/Kogia breviceps

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Kogia breviceps (Pygmy & Dwarf Sperm Whales)

Where found: Dwarf and Pygmy sperm whales are found throughout the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. However, they are rarely sighted at sea, so most data come from stranded and captured animals - making a precise range and migration map difficult. The dwarf is more coastal than the pygmy. There is no accurate estimate of number of these whales in the world or good data on conservation status.

Description: The dwarf sperm whale is the smallest species commonly known as a whale. It grows up to 2.7 m (8.9 ft) in length and 250 kilograms (550 lb) in weight. The species makes slow, deliberate movements with little splash or blow and usually lies motionless when at the sea's surface. Consequently it is usually observed only in very calm seas.

These two species were not distinguished from each other until 1966 and are difficult to tell apart but the dwarf is slightly smaller and has a larger dorsal fin than the pygmy. The body is mainly bluish gray with a lighter underside with slightly yellow vein-like streaks possibly visible. There is a white false gill behind each eye. The flippers are very short and broad. The top of the snout overhangs the lower jaw, which is small. The whales have long, curved and sharp teeth (0–6 in the upper jaw, between 14 and 26 in the lower).

These whales expel a dark reddish substance when frightened or attacked—possibly to put off any predators. They are usually solitary or paired but have occasionally been seen in small groups.

All sperm whales have a spermaceti organ in the forehead. The brain of the dwarf sperm whale is roughly half a kilogram in mass.Video of stranded Pygmy Sperm Whale

Kogia breviceps.jpg