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

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

Pygmy Sperm Whale

Order: Cetacea
Family: Physeteridae

Image of Kogia breviceps
Click to enlarge. (37 kb)

Conservation Status: Data Deficient.

Pygmy sperm whales are usually seen in small groups of six or fewer individuals, but there are few documented sightings. They tend to stay in deep water, beyond the continental shelf, and not much is known about their behavior. Calves are about 1.2 m long at birth (an adult's total length ranges from 2.7 to 3.4 m); gestation lasts 9 to 11 months; and the calf nurses for about a year. Although strandings are relatively frequent in the southeastern United States, sometimes because the whales have swallowed plastic bags, these animals are sighted so infrequently that they are considered uncommon for conservation purposes. Pygmy sperm whales are believed to feed mostly on cephalopods, and may mistake floating plastic bags for squid.

Range: 2.7-3.4 m

Range: 318-408 kg


Blainville 1838.  Ann. Franc. Etr. Anat. Phys., 2:337.


Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Kogia breviceps

Image of Kogia breviceps
Click to enlarge. (27kb)