Dwarf Sperm Whale

Scientific Name:
Kogia sima
2.7 m (9.0 ft)
270 kg (600 lbs)
data deficient
Deep-water squid, crustaceans, fish, octopus

Physical characteristics

The coloration in adults is dark blueish-gray to blackish brown on the back with a lighter underside. On the side of the head, between the eye and the flipper, there is often a crescent-shaped, light-colored mark referred to as a "false gill". They have the shortest rostrum of all cetaceans and their skull is slightly asymmetrical. The teeth are very thin and sharp.

Behavioral characterization

They usually do not approach boats but may be seen breaching where they leap out of the water vertically and land with a belly flop. Unlike most other small whales, they do not roll forward at the surface but drop out of sight. When in danger, females have been reported to release faeces and hide their calves in the cloud.


The mainly live over the continental shelf and slope off tropical and temperate coasts of all oceans. However, most knowledge comes from strandings as dwarf sperm whales are hard to identify at sea.

Population size



Large sharks and killer whales.

Migration/Dispersal patterns

It is believed that dwarf sperm whales do not migrate as they can be found year round.

Social system/Group size

Group sizes tend to be small, most often less than 5 individuals, although groups of up to 10 have been recorded.

Major threats

Stranded animals were reported to have large amounts of plastics in their stomachs. Direct and indirect catch also occurs, mainly due to their small size.

Research efforts


Fun fact

Their body form resembles sharks.