Physeter catodon /Physeter macrocephalus
Cachalot | Capodoglio | Sperm whale
Features: elongated body with a very reduced dorsal fin, squared and laterally compressed head that occupies 1/3 of the total length of the body. The skin is dark and wrinkled, usually grey-brown. It has 20-26 conical teeth on each side of the lower jaw, while the teeth of the upper jaw do not erupt. It has a very large caudal fin, which shows in a vertical position (fluking) at the beginning of the dive, in a distinctive behavior of this animal.
Puff: Roundish, up to 5 m high, inclined 45° to the left, due to the position and direction of the single nostril located in the anteroposterior left part of the head.
Maximum length : 12-18 m
Maximum weight: over 50 tons
Longevity: around 70yrs
Dive Time: on average 20-50 minutes; max ever recorded 138 min.
Dive Depth: 200 – 1200 m; max ever recorded 2000 m.
Maximum speed: about 30 km / h
Food Diet: squids caught at great depths in deep water ascents
IUCN Red List: VU (Vulnerable – Vulnerabile. Popolazione mondiale); EN (Endangered – in pericolo. Popolazione Mediterranea)
Threats: waste ingestion, maritime traffic and collisions, entrapment in networks