The pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps is one of three species in the family Kogiidae in the sperm whale superfamily. They are not often sighted at sea, and most of what is known about them comes from the examination of stranded specimens. The pygmy sperm whales was first described by naturalist Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville in He recognized it as a type of sperm whale and assigned it to the same genus as the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus as Physeter breviceps.
Pygmy sperm whale - Whale & Dolphin Conservation USA
Pygmy sperm whales are toothed whales named after the waxy substance—spermaceti—found in their heads. The spermaceti is an oil sac that helps the whales produce sound. Like squids, pygmy sperm whales can produce a dark, ink-like liquid that helps them escape from predators. Pygmy sperm whales are found in temperate and tropical seas worldwide. They look very similar to dwarf sperm whales , making it very difficult to distinguish between the two species in the field. Little is known about both species because of limited information, and they are considered rare. Pygmy sperm whales, like all marine mammals, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Ipswich Police and local park managers were notified and contacted the marine mammal rescue staff from the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire. While strandings of pygmy sperm whales in New England are unusual, they are the second most common marine mammal found washed up on beaches in the southeastern states, particularly Florida. Two common causes of mortality are vessel strikes and consumption of plastic debris. Biologist will also look for plastic debris that might have obstructed the intestinal tract. Read more about this year's high school graduates on the North Shore in our special Salute to Seniors section.
This whale is 1 of 3 species of sperm whale; the other two are the sperm whale and the dwarf sperm whale. To assist with swimming these whales have a pair of flippers to help them turn and steer in the water and rear flukes which they move up and down to propel themselves forward. In terms of dentition these whales may have anywhere from 10 — 16 teeth in their lower jaw, but lack having any in their upper jaw. Whether or not their teeth are necessary for hunting prey is uncertain as their larger sperm whale relative is known to successfully capture prey without teeth and even with a deformed jaw. When threatened these marine mammals can release a dark ink to blind their predator while they escape unharmed.