|Scientific Name:||Kogia breviceps|
|Species Authority:||(Blainville, 1838)|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Only one species of the genus Kogia (K. breviceps) was recognized until 1966, when studies clearly showed the Pygmy and Dwarf (K. sima) Sperm Whales to be distinct species (Handley 1966, Chivers et al. 2005).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Data Deficient ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||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.|
|Reviewer(s):||Hammond, P.S. & Perrin, W.F.|
There is considerable uncertainty about the status of this species, which may span a range from Least Concern to a threatened category. There is no information on abundance or on trends in global abundance. As a relatively uncommon species it is potentially vulnerable to low-level threats and a 30% global reduction over three generations (36 years; Taylor et al. 2007) cannot be ruled out.
|Range Description:||Pygmy Sperm Whales are known from deep waters (outer continental shelf and beyond) in tropical to warm temperate zones of all oceans (McAlpine 2002). This species appears to prefer somewhat more temperate waters than does the Dwarf Sperm Whale. The range of Kogia breviceps is poorly known, though a lack of records of live animals may be more due to inconspicuous behaviour rather than rarity. Most information stems from strandings (especially females with calves), which may give an inaccurate picture of the actual distribution at sea (Culik 2004).
The map shows where the species may occur based on oceanography. The species has not been recorded for all the states within the hypothetical range as shown on the map. States for which confirmed records of the species exist are included in the list of native range states. States within the hypothetical range but for which no confirmed records exist are included in the Presence Uncertain list.
Native:American Samoa (American Samoa); Angola (Angola); Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba; Australia (Tasmania); Bahamas; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; British Indian Ocean Territory; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada (Nova Scotia); Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Chile (Juan Fernández Is.); China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Cook Islands; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Cuba; Curaçao; Denmark; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Fiji; France; French Guiana; French Polynesia; Gabon; Gambia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guam; Guatemala; Guernsey; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Isle of Man; Jamaica; Japan (Honshu); Jersey; Kenya; Kiribati; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Liberia; Macao; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Martinique; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nauru; Netherlands; Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire); New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Niue; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Pitcairn; Portugal (Azores); Puerto Rico; Réunion; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Sao Tomé and Principe; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape Province, Western Cape); Spain; Sri Lanka; Suriname; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tokelau; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; Tuvalu; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States (Hawaiian Is., Washington); Uruguay; Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Wallis and Futuna; Western Sahara; Yemen
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – southwest; Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – western central; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northeast; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
There are no estimates of global abundance. Abundance of this and similar whales is often underestimated using visual survey methods because they dive for long periods and are inconspicuous when they surface (Barlow 1999). The frequency with which they strand in some areas (such as Florida and South Africa) suggests that they may not always be as uncommon as sightings would suggest. Recent genetic studies suggest the there is some gene flow between the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans (S. J. Chivers pers. comm.).
Delineations between stocks are often difficult to determine, therefore assessments should be considered ongoing processes. In the case of the Pygmy Sperm Whale, concern that sightings may be confused with the cogener K. sima (the Dwarf Sperm Whale) further complicates the estimation of abundance. There are estimated to be about 247 (CV = 106%) off California, Oregon, and Washington (Barlow 2003); 7,251 (CV=77%) off Hawaii (Barlow 2006); 742 of both species of Kogia (CV=29%) in the northern Gulf of Mexico (Mullin et al. 2004); and 395 of both species (CV=40/75%) in the western North Atlantic (Waring et al. 2006).
|Habitat and Ecology:||
Kogia breviceps is rarely seen at sea; it tends to live a long distance from shore and has inconspicuous habits. According to Caldwell and Caldwell (1989) K. breviceps lives in oceanic waters beyond the edge of the continental shelf while K. sima lives over or near the edge of the shelf. However, this separation was not apparent in the study by Mullin et al. (1994) who, by aerial observation, found both species over water depths of 400–600 m in the north-central Gulf of Mexico. These waters of the upper continental slope were also characterized by high zooplankton biomass (Baumgartner et al. 2001).
Studies of feeding habits, based on stomach contents of stranded animals, suggest that this species feeds in deep water, primarily on cephalopods and, less often, on deep-sea fishes and shrimps (dos Santos and Haimovici 2001, McAlpine et al. 1997). In South Africa, they take at least 67 different prey species and appear to feed in deeper waters than do Dwarf Sperm Whales (Ross 1979).
|Use and Trade:||It is hunted on a small scale in a few places.|
Although they have never been taken in large numbers and have never been hunted commercially, small numbers of the species have been taken in coastal whaling operations off Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Lesser Antilles, and Sri Lanka (Jefferson et al. 1993).
A few have been killed in gillnet fisheries of Sri Lanka, Taiwan and California, and it is likely they are killed in gillnets elsewhere as well (Jefferson et al. 1993; Barlow et al. 1997). Perez et al. (2001) reported on occasional bycatch in fisheries in the northeast Atlantic (mostly gillnet and purse seine operations). However, although it is taken in small numbers both directly and incidentally in fisheries, Baird et al. (1996) found no serious threats to its status.
A young male Pygmy Sperm Whale stranded alive on Galveston Island, Texas, USA and died in a holding tank 11 days later. During necropsy, the first two stomach compartments (forestomach and fundic chamber) were found to be completely occluded by various plastic bags (Laist et al. 1999). Such ingestion of plastics, with associated gut-blockage, appears to be a common issue in this species.
This species, like beaked whales, is likely to be vulnerable to loud anthropogenic sounds, such as those generated by navy sonar and seismic exploration (Cox et al. 2006).
In 2005, a large series of unusual stranding events over about 3 weeks in and around Taiwan included several Kogia (Wang and Yang 2006; Yang et al. 2008) with at least two Pygmy Sperm Whales (Yang et al. 2008). It is unknown if military, seismic or other loud noise-producing human activities resulted in these strandings.
There are high levels of unexplained strandings in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast of Florida (Waring et al. 2006).
Predicted impacts of global climate change on the marine environment may affect Pygmy Sperm Whales, although the nature of impacts is unclear (Learmonth et al. 2006).
|Conservation Actions:||The species is listed in Appendix II of CITES. Research is needed to determine the impact of threats on this species.|
Aguiar-Dos Santos, R. and Haimovici, M. 2001. Cephalopods in the diet of marine mammals stranded or incidentally caught along southeastern and southern Brazil (21- 34º S). Fisheries Research 52: 99-112.
Baird, R. W., Nelson, D., Lien, J. and Nagorsen, D. W. 1996. Status of the pygmy sperm whale, Kogia breviceps, in Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 110: 525-532.
Balcomb, K. C. and Claridge, D. E. 2001. A mass stranding of cetaceans caused by naval sonar in the Bahamas. Bahamas Journal of Science 8(2): 2-12.
Barlow, J. 1999. Trackline detection probability for long-diving whales. In: G. W. Garner, S. C. Amstrup, J. L. Laake, B. J. F. Manley, L. L. McDonald and D. G. Robertson (eds), Marine mammal survey and assessment methods, pp. 209-221. Balkema Press, Netherlands.
Barlow, J. 2003. Preliminary estimates of the abundance of cetaceans along the U.S. west coast: 1991-2001. Southwest Fisheries Center Administrative Report LJ-03-03: 31 pp.
Barlow, J. 2006. Cetacean abundance in Hawaiian waters estimated from a summer/fall survey in 2002. Marine Mammal Science 22(2): 446-464.
Barlow, J., Forney, K. A., Hill, K. A., Brownell Jr., R. L., Caretta, R. L., Demaster, D. P., Julian, D. P., Lowry, M. S., Ragen, M. S. and Reeves, R. R. 1997. U.S. Pacific marine mammal stock assessments: 1996. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC 248: 223 pp.
Baumgartner, M. F., Mullin, K. D., May, L. N. and Leming, T. D. 2001. Cetacean habitats in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Fishery Bulletin 99: 219-239.
Caldwell, D. K. and Caldwell, M. C. 1989. Pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps (de Blainville, 1838): Dwarf sperm whale Kogia simus Owen, 1866. In: S. H. Ridgway and R. Harrison (eds), Handbook of marine mammals, Vol. 4: River dolphins and the larger toothed whales, pp. 234-260. Academic Press.
Carretta, J. V., Forney, K. A., Muto, M. M., Barlow, J., Baker, J., Hanson, J. and Lowry, M. S. 2006. U.S. Pacific marine mammal stock assessments: 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC.
Chivers, S. J., Leduc, A. E., Robertson, K. M., Barros, N. B. and Dizon, A. E. 2005. Genetic variation in Kogia spp., with preliminary evidence for two species of Kogia sima. Marine Mammal Science 21(4): 619-634.
Culik, B. M. 2004. Review of small cetaceans: Distribution, behaviour, migration and threats. Marine Mammal Action Plan/Regional Seas Reports and Studies 177: 343 pp.
Fernández, A., Edwards, J. F., Rodriguez, F., Espinosa, A., De Los Monteros, Herraez, P., Castro, P., Jaber, J. R., Martin, V. and Arebelo, M. 2005. "Gas and fat embolic syndrome" involving a mass stranding of beaked whales (family Ziphiidae) exposed to anthropogenic sonar signals. Veterinary Pathology 42: 446-457.
Frantzis, A. 1998. Does acoustic testing strand whales? Nature 392(5): 29.
Handley, C. O. 1966. A synopsis of the genus Kogia (pygmy sperm whales). In: K. S. Norris (ed.), Whales, dolphins, and porpoises, pp. 62-69. University of California Press, Berkeley, California, USA.
Hohn, A. A., Rotstein, D. S., Harms, C. A. and Southall, B. L. 2006. Multispecies mass stranding of pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), and dwarf sperm whales (Kogia sima) in North Carolina on 15-16 January 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS SEFSC 537: 222.
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 17 October 2012).
Jefferson, T. A., Leatherwood, S. and Webber, M. A. 1993. Marine Mammals of the World: FAO Species Identification Guide. United Nation Environment Programme and Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN.
Jepson, P. D., Arebelo, M., Deaville, R., Patterson, I. A. P., Castro, P., Baker, J. R., Degollada, E., Ross, H. M., Herraez, P., Pocknell, A. M., Rodriguez, F., Howie, F. E., Espinosa, A., Reid, R. J., Jaber, J. R., Martin, V., Cunningham, A. A. and Fernandez, A. 2003. Gas-bubble lesions in stranded cetaceans. Nature 425: 575-576.
Laist, D. W., Coe, J. M. and O'Hara, K. J. 1999. Marine debris pollution. In: J. R. Twiss and R. R. Reeves (eds), Conservation and Management of Marine Mammals.
Learmonth, J. A., Macleod, C. D., Santos, M. B., Pierce, G. J., Crick, H. Q. P. and Robinson, R. A. 2006. Potential effects of climate change on marine mammals. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 44: 431-464.
Mcalpine, D. F. 2002. Pygmy and dwarf sperm whales Kogia breviceps and K. simus. In: W. F. Perrin, B. Wursig and J. G. M. Thewissen (eds), Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, pp. 1007-1009. Academic Press.
Mcalpine, D. F., Murison, L. D. and Hoberg, E. P. 1997. New records for the pygmy sperm whale, Kogia breviceps (Physeteridae) from Atlantic Canada with notes on diet and parasites. Marine Mammal Science 13(4): 701-704.
Mullin, K. D. and Fulling, G. L. 2004. Abundance of cetaceans in the oceanic northern Gulf of Mexico, 1996-2001. Marine Mammal Science 20(4): 787-807.
Mullin, K. D., Hoggard, Q. and Hansen, L. J. 2004. Abundance and seasonal occurrence of cetaceans in outer continental shelf and slope waters of the north-central and northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Gulf of Mexico Science 22: 62-73.
Mullin, K., Hoggard, W., Roden, C., Lohoefener, R., Rogers, C. and Taggart, B. 1991. Cetaceans on the upper continental slope in the northcentral Gulf of Mexico. OCS Study MMS 91-0027: 108 pp.
Perez, C., Lopez, A., Sequeira, M., Silva, M., Herrera, R., Goncalves, J., Valdes, P., Mons, L., Freitag, L., Lens, S. and Cendero, O. 2001. Stranding and by-catch of cetaceans in the northeastern Atlantic during 1996.: 4 pp.. Copenhagen, Denmark.
Ross, G. J. B. 1979. Records of pygmy and dwarf sperm whales, genus Kogia, from southern Africa, with biological notes and some comparisons. Annals of the Cape Provincial Museums (Natural History) 11(14): 259-327.
Simmonds, M. P. and Lopez-Jurado, L. F. 1991. Whales and the military. Nature 351: 448.
Southall, B. L., Braun, R., Gulland, F. M. D., Heard, A. D., Baird, R. W., Wilkin, S. and Rowles, T. K. 2006. Hawaiian melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) mass stranding event of July 3-4, 2004. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR 31: 73 pp.
Taylor, B. L., Chivers, S. J., Larese, J. and Perrin, W. F. 2007. Generation length and percent mature estimates for IUCN assessments of Cetaceans. Southwest Fisheries Science Center.
Wang, J. Y. and Yang, S. C. 2006. Unusual cetacean stranding events of Taiwan in 2004 and 2005. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 8: 283-292.
Waring, G. T., Josephson, E., Fairfield, C. P. and Maze-Foley, K. (eds). 2006. U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico marine mammal stock assessments - 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE, pp. 346 pp..
Yang, W.-C., Chou, L.-S., Jepson, P. D., Brownell Jr., R. L., Cowan, D., Chang, P.-H., Chiou, H.-I., Yao, C.-J., Yamada, T. K., Chiu, J.-T., Wang, P.-J. and Fernandez, A. 2008. Unusual cetacean mortality events in Taiwan, possibly linked to naval activities. Veterinary Record 162: 184-186.
|Citation:||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 25 October 2014.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided|