Dwarf Sperm Whale
Kogia sima

Scientific Name: Kogia sima

Other Names: Owen's Pygmy Sperm Whale.

Suborder: Odontoceti

Family: Kogiidae

The Dwarf Sperm Whale has a shark-like appearance due mainly to its underslung jaw and pale 'false gill' colouration on the sides of its head. It is dark blue-grey  to olive-brown skin with paler undersides. The flippers are set fairly far foward and it flukes are slightly notched. Its snout is more pointed that the Pygmy Sperm Whale and its dorsal fin more prominant and positioned closer to mid-back (further to the tail).

These animals are very difficult to detect as they tend to rest low in the water and rarely perform any areal behaviours. They typically rise to the surface slowly and sink below the surface unobtrusively.

Maximum Length 

Adult:2.1-2.7 m

Newborns: 1m

 Maximum Weight

Adult: 275kg

Dwarf Sperm Whale Ecology

Range: Tropical and warm temperate waters.

Usual Habitat: Fairly coastal preferring shelf edge and continental slope waters

Usual group size: Alone or in groups of up to 10

Main Diet: Mid and deep water cephalopods, fish and crustaceans.

Local population: Unknown

 Global range of the Dwarf Sperm Whale

Dwarf Sperm Whales are likely to be found in the dark blue areas

 Conservation Information 

Protection and Conservation Status

IUCN Conservation Status: 
Dwarf Sperm Whales are listed as "Data Deficient" on the IUCN red list.

SPAW Protocol:  Dwarf Sperm Whales are cetaceans, which are listed under Annex II of the SPAW protocol. As such they require total protection under article 11 of this protocol which prohibits the "taking, possession, killing and commercial trade of the species, their parts or products". The SPAW protocol was created to help with the implementation and promotion of the Ramsar Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Annexes of the SPAW protocol can be found here.

Local Laws: Cetaceans are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act of Trinidad and Tobago which offers protection to all species not listed under the second or third schedules of this act.

Reports of Dwarf Sperm Whales in Trinidad and Tobago
There are currently no reports of this species in Trinidad and Tobago.

The above information was obtained from the following sources:

  • A Princeton Field Guide: Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World by Hadoram Shirihai and Brett Jarrett (2006)
  • Smithsonian Handbooks: Whales Dolphins and Porpoises by Mark Carwardine and illustrated by Martin Camm (2002)
  • The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society's Species Guide at http://www2.wdcs.org/species/index.php
  • The IUCN Redlist at http://www.iucnredlist.org
  • The SPAW protocol Annexes with links available at http://www.car-spaw-rac.org/?Annexes-of-the-SPAW-Protocol,83

We would like to thank the following people for the use of the art work and photographs:

  • Al√ęsha Naranjit (Illustration of Dwarf Sperm Whale)
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