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  The Mammals of Texas - Online Edition

Dwarf Sperm Whale
Order Cetacea : Family Physeteridae : Kogia simus (Owen)

Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogia simus).  Illustration by Pieter A. Folkens.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. breviceps.

Habits. Until the mid 1960’s, 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 length.

Illustration credit: Pieter A. Folkens.