Kogia breviceps

Scientific Name:-
Kogia breviceps

Common Name:-
Pygmy Sperm Whale

Malayalam Name:-
Dwarf Ennathimingalam


Classified as "Data deficient" by the IUCN. Not listed by CMS. Listed in Appendix II of CITES.


Body is somewhat porpoise-like and robust, with a distinctive underslung jaw, not unlike sharks. The snout is shorter than that of Pygmy Sperm Whale. They have the shortest rostrum among cetaceans and the skull is markedly asymmetrical. Pygmy sperm whales reach a maximum size of about 3.8 m total length and a body mass of 450 kg and are larger than dwarf sperm whales. Colouration in adults is dark bluish grey to blackish brown on the back with a light venter. On the side of the head, between the eye and the flipper, there is often a crescent-shaped, light-coloured mark often referred to as a "false gill". Teeth are only found in the lower jaw and are very sharp and thin, lacking enamel. The lower jaw is very small and slung low. The blowhole is displaced slightly to the left when viewed from above facing forward. The dorsal fin is very small and hooked; its size is considerably smaller than that of the dwarf sperm whale and may be used for diagnostic purposes. lse gill". Teeth are only found in the lower jaw and are very sharp and thin, lacking enamel. Like the Pygmy Sperm Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whales may appear wrinkled. They differ from the Pygmy in having several short, irregular creases or grooves on the throat. 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. Analysis of stomach contents suggests that pygmy sperm whales feed primarily on cephalopods.


This species is insufficiently known with respect to all aspects of its biology and potential threats. Although they have never been taken in large numbers and have never been hunted commercially, small numbers of the species have been caught as bycatch in gill net operations.


There is a record of skull of this species gifted by the Superintendent, Trivandrum Museum to the British Museum (Natural History) (De Silva, 1987).


Lives mostly beyond the edge of the continental shelf in tropical and temperate waters around the world.


Cogia breviceps Benham, 1901;
Euphisetes pottsi Tomilin, 1957;
Euphysetes grayii Wall, 1851;
Euphysetes macleayi Gill, 1871;
Kogia brevirostris Gray, 1865;
Kogia floweri Gill, 1871;
Kogia goodei True, 1884;
Kogia grayi Gill, 1871;
Kogia greyi Trouessart, 1898;
Kogia macleayi Gill, 1871


De Silva, P. (1987). Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) recorded off Sri Lanka, India, from the Arabian Sea and Gulf, Gulf of Aden and from the Red Sea.
Jayasankar, P. and Anoop, B. 2010. Identification of Marine Mammals of India. Narendra Publishing House, Delhi.
Jefferson, T.A., Leatherwood, S. and Webber, M.A. 1993. FAO Species identification guide. Marine Mammals of the World: UNEP / FAO, Rome, 320 pp.
Jefferson, T. A., M. A. Webber and R. L. Pitman. (2008). Marine mammals of the world. Academic Press, Amsterdam.
Pillay, R. (1926). List of cetaceans taken in Travancore from 1902 to 1925. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 31(3): 815-817.
Sathasivam, K. 2004.Marine Mammals of India. University Press, Hyderabad.
Taylor, B.L., Baird, R., Barlow, J., Dawson, S.M., Ford, J.K.B., Mead, J.G., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Wade, P. & Pitman, R.L. 2012. Kogia breviceps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 September 2014.
Vivekanandan, E. and Jeyabaskaran, R. 2012. Marine Mammal Species of India. Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi, 228pp.

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