|The Mammals of Texas -
Dwarf Sperm Whale
Cetacea : Family Physeteridae :
Kogia simus (Owen)
Description. Similar to
Kogia breviceps but smaller (rarely reaching 3 m in length);
dorsal fin higher (relatively and actually) and located
near center of back; number of teeth in the lower jaw
normally 8-11, rarely as many as 13; usually three
rudimentary teeth in each upper jaw. Total length of
adults usually less than 2.5 m, rarely to 2.7 m. Weight,
less than 300 kg.
Distribution in Texas. Like Kogia
breviceps, the dwarf sperm whale is probably
cosmomarine and is found in warm water oceans. In the
western North Atlantic, these whales are known from
Virginia to the Lesser Antilles and the Gulf of Mexico.
They strand fairly frequently but not so often as K.
Habits. Until the mid
1960s, dwarf sperm whales were routinely grouped
with K. breviceps in stranding and sighting
reports. This has resulted in little available data on
the natural history of these whales.
Dwarf sperm whales make deep and
prolonged dives in quest of food. Squid and fish are
known to occur in the diet.
The reproductive habits of K. simus
are almost completely unknown. At birth, calves are
estimated to be about 1 m in length and 45 kg in weight.
The young reach maturity when they are about 2 m in
Illustration credit: Pieter