T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Whale (Pygmy sperm whale) Kogia breviceps

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Kogiidae
Genus: Kogia
Species: K. breviceps
Binomial name: Kogia breviceps
Synonym: Kogia goodei
Common name: Pygmy sperm whale 

The Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) is not often sighted at sea, and most of what is known about this species has come from the examination of stranded specimens. There were 27 pygmy sperm whales reported stranded on New Zealand beaches between 1991 and 2003.
The pygmy sperm whale is not much larger than many dolphins. They are about 1.2 m at birth, growing to about 3.5 m at maturity. Adults weigh about 400 kg. The underside is a creamy, occasionally pinkish colour and the back and sides are a bluish grey; however, considerable intermixing occurs between the two colours. The shark-like head is large in comparison to body size, given an almost swollen appearance when viewed from the side. A whitish marking often described as a "false gill", is seen behind each eye.
The pygmy sperm whale has a "melon", a body of fat and wax in the head that it uses to focus and modulate the sounds it makes. 
The Pygmy sperm whale has between 12-16 sharp, curved pairs teeth in their lower jaws. These teeth fit into pockets in their upper jaw. They feed on octopuses, squid, crab, fish, and shrimp.  



An early drawing.



A Pygmy sperm whale's skull
 

This illustration shows the size difference of a Pygmy sperm whale and a human.


The blue shows the distribution area of the Pygmy Sperm whale.


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/