Common Name: Dwarf Sperm Whale
General Description: Very similar to the Pygmy sperm wbut smaller. The snout is shorter and smaller though the shape of the head changes with age. In young individuals the snout slopes downward to the front; in an older animal it is straight, giving it a squarish profile. The dorsal fin is taller than in the Pygmy Sperm Whale, more than five percent of the total body length, and positioned farther forward on the back. This has a broad base, and a concave trailing edge.
The colouration is similar to the Pygmy Sperm Whale— medium grey above, and paler below with a pink tinge. There is a pale bracket mark or “false gill” on the head, but it is much less curved than in the Pygmy Sperm Whale.
Like the Pygmy Sperm Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whales may appear wrinkled.
Size: Adults, Dwarf Sperm Whales attain lengths of 2.7 m, and weights of about 210 kg. Calves at birth,1 m long.
Appearance At Sea: Dwarf Sperm Whales are mostly encountered at sea lying at the surface, ‘like so many logs afloat’. They are usually seen in groups of two to seven individuals.
Found In: The Dwarf Sperm Whale is an animal of tropical and subtropical seas. It seems to live exclusively on or near continental shelves. It is believed to make prolonged dives for food, as species of fish and squid that are known to live at depths of more than 250 m have been found in the stomachs of Dwarf Sperm Whales.
Records from India: Apart from the type specimen obtained from near Visakhapatnam, there are records of Dwarf Sperm Whale from both coasts of India from stranded reports and the Andaman Nicobar islands where sightings have been confirmed.
World Distribution: This species has been recorded off much of the eastern coast of North America, but only the southern part of its western coast, off South Africa, South Australia, Japan, Hawaii and Guam.
Could Be Confused With: There is a possibility of confusion with the Pygmy Sperm Whale and other blackfish.
Diagnostic Features: At sea, tall, curved dorsal fin; white false gill marking on head.
Stranded Specimens: There may be seven to 13 pairs of teeth in the lower jaw. Unlike the Pygmy Sperm Whale, this whale may have up to three pairs of undeveloped teeth in the upper jaw as well. The teeth of this species are shorter and more slender than those of the Pygmy Sperm Whale.