Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps)
|Researched by||Morvan Barnes||Refereed by||Admin|
|Authority||(de Blainville, 1838)|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandOnly a few sightings off the east coasts of Scotland and England.
HabitatThe pygmy sperm whale is an oceanic deep-sea species that may dive down to a few hundred metres in depth.
- Up to 4 m in length.
- Small dorsal fin two-thirds down the body.
- The flippers are spear-shaped.
- Moderately large square head with projecting lower jaw.
- Narrow lower jaw with a white inside colouring to the mouth.
- Forward pointing blowhole at the front left side of the head.
- About 14 peg-like teeth in each side of the lower jaw.
Additional informationPygmy sperm whales are usually found either alone, or in small groups of up to 5 individuals. The blow is unique amongst whales by being obliquely forward directed. The tail flukes will often appear before a deep dive. Dive duration is unknown (Kinze, 2002). It is often confused with the dwarf sperm whale, Kogia sima, but the dwarf sperm whale does not occur in British and Irish waters (Jefferson et al., 1994).
Bruyns, W.F.J.M., 1971. Field guide of whales and dolphins. Amsterdam: Publishing Company Tors.
Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]
Jefferson, T.A., Leatherwood, S. & Webber, M.A., 1994. FAO species identification guide. Marine mammals of the world. Rome: United Nations Environment Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Kinze, C. C., 2002. Photographic Guide to the Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reid. J.B., Evans. P.G.H., Northridge. S.P. (ed.), 2003. Atlas of Cetacean Distribution in North-west European Waters. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.
OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-09-27
Whale and Dolphin Conservation, 2018. WDC Shorewatch Sightings. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/9vuieb accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
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Last Updated: 02/06/2008