Monday, July 30, 2007

Dwarf sperm whale fact sheet

Dwarf sperm whales are the smallest species classified as a whale, even smaller than some dolphin species.  Relatively little is known about them, as they have not often been sighted in the wild. They are very difficult to distinguish from the similar looking pygmy sperm whales. Compared to the pygmy sperm whale, the dwarf sperm whale is smaller, and has a more pointed head and flatter back. It has a single blowhole set slightly left off center. At the surface they usually travel slowly in groups of fewer than 10  individuals and they do not seem to approach boats. If they are startled they may release a cloud of reddish-brown intestinal fluid.

Like pygmy sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales are thought to be distributed in the deep waters throughout tropical and temperate zones. Strandings indicate that they can potentially be sighted in the Azores.

• Male: 2.5 m
• Female: 2.7 m
• Calf:  1 m

Male: 272 kg

Global population: Unknown (population trend unknown)

Status: Data Deficient

Diet: Squid, fish, crustaceans

• 14 – 26 in the lower jaw
• 0 – 3 in the upper jaw

Longevity: Unknown

Breeding age: Unknown

Gestation: Unknown

Nursing: Unknown

In other languages
Portuguese:  Cachalote-anao
Spanish: Cachalote enano
French: Cachalot nain
Italian: Cogia di Owen
German: Kleiner pottwal
Dutch: Kleinste potvis
Swedish: Dvärgkaskelot

Norwegian: -
Danish: -
Finnish: Pikkukaskelotti 
Polish: Kaszalot płaskonosykaszalot karłowaty

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