Pygmy Sperm Whale

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Related to Pygmy Sperm Whale: dwarf sperm whale
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pygmy Sperm Whale


(Kogia breviceps), an aquatic mammal of the suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales). It measures up to 4 m long and weighs up to 500 kg. The head is rounded; over the upper section there is a tall forehead projection (a fatty cushion). The mouth is located on the lower side of the head. There are one or two pairs of teeth in the upper jaw (they fall out as the animal approaches old age) and eight to 15 pairs in the lower jaw. The back and sides are dark in color, and the underparts are light. The pectoral fins are short, broad, and pointed; the dorsal fin is shaped like a sickle.

The pygmy sperm whale lives in the tropical and subtropical belts of the oceans. In the USSR it is found only near the southern islands of the Kuril Ridge. The animal feeds on cephalopods, deep-sea fish, crabs, and shrimp. The young are born in the spring and measure 1 to 1.2 m long and weigh 16 kg. The pygmy sperm whale is very rare and has not been adequately studied.


Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. Moscow, 1957. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Sadly, a few days later there was a story of a pygmy sperm whale stranding and dying farther down the Keys, and I'd guess it was the same animal; once whatever mechanism it is that tells them to crawl out on land is triggered, they rarely survive, my biologist friends tell me.
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With squid, fish and crabs as their main diet, Blatchley said it did not take much to kill a pygmy sperm whale, considered rare due to the limited information available about the species.
D'Bone Museum curator Darrell Blatchleymade this disclosure as he noted the latest fatality in a 10-foot pygmy sperm whale which was discovered last April 26.
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