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Sperm Whale


Scientific Name:
Physeter macrocephalus
Length:
13.1-18.3 m (43-60 ft)
Weight:
25-45 tons
Status:
edangered
Prey:
Squid, whales, dolphins, sharks

Physical characteristics

Small eyes, long and narrow lower jaw, large square head. One blowhole located at the left of the forehead. Ripple light-brown to blue-gray skin.

Behavioral characterization

Capable of diving to enormous depths for long periods of time.

Distribution

Sperm whales are divided into Northern and Southern hemisphere populations, and can be found in all oceans. Females and juveniles spend more time in temperate regions.

Population size

Roughly estimated, ~200,000

Predators

Humans

Migration/Dispersal patterns

Males migrate to higher latitudes.

Social system/Group size

Found in pods. Groups of females with their young are common.

Major threats

Entanglement in fishing gear, whaling, ship strike

Research efforts

Dominica Sperm Whale project: photo identification, acoustic recording, genetic testing

Fun fact

Sperm whales produce intense clicks, sometimes in a series. These sounds may be used for communication, or possibly echolocation.