Dwarf sperm whale
By: Stephanie Ploen
Edited by: Poul Vendel
Kogia comes from the English word codger, meaning "a miserly old
man". The word simus meaning "flat snouted".
The Dwarf sperm whale is dark grey to blue-grey, with a prominent, falcate dorsal fin.
The flippers are located far forward on the body. The snout is slightly pointed
and overlaps the tiny underslung jaw and a "false gill" marking behind
the eye. Thus it may resemble a shark when stranded. At sea the Pygmy sperm
whale is often seen in
small groups of up to 6, floating motionless at the surface with only
a part of the head and the back and dorsal fin visible. Up to six teeth are
found in the upper jaw.
A Dwarf sperm whale can reach lengths of at least 3 m.
The location in Africa:
The Pygmy sperm whale can be seen along the entire coast of South Africa and Namibia, over the edge of the
A small amount is known about this species in general. Most information about its
natural history comes from strandings in Florida and South Africa. In recent
years, a number of observations have been made in the wild, mainly in the Gulf
of California, off the Bahamas and in the Phillipines. The species feeds mainly
on squid and a few crustaceans and fish. Scallops have been found in its
stomach. When in panic or under stress, reddish brown faeces are discharged,
which may serve as a defense (camouflage) mechanism.
Nothing is known about the possible impacts in African coastal waters.
Although some are taken in gillnets in the Indian Ocean.