Pygmy Sperm Whale
Kogia breviceps


Scientific Name: Kogia breviceps

Other Names: Lesser Sperm Whale, Lesser Cachalot, Short-headed Sperm Whale

Suborder: Odontoceti

Family: Kogiidae

The Pygmy 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 squarish its dorsal fin is small and set well behind mid-back.

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: 2.7 m
Calf: 0.8 m

Maximum Weight
Adult: 2.1 -2.6 m
Calf: 0.8 m

Pygmy Sperm Whale Ecology

Range: Tropical and temperate seas.

Usual Habitat: Generally found in deep waters beyond the continental shelf

Usual group size: Alone or in groups of 6 - 7

Main Diet: Mid and deep-water cephalopods, fish and occasionally crustations

Local population: Unknown

 Global range of the Pygmy Sperm Whale

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

 Conservation Information 

Protection and Conservation Status

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

SPAW Protocol:  Pygmy 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 Pygmy 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
  • The IUCN Redlist at
  • The SPAW protocol Annexes with links available at,83

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

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