Physeter macrocephalus

Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus, 1758

Common Names

Sperm whale (English)

Languages: English



Sperm whales are found throughout the world's oceans in deep waters to the edge of the ice at both poles (Waring et al. 2009 and references therein).

According to Waring et al. (2009), results of multi-disciplinary research conducted in the Gulf of Mexico during the first decade of the 21st Century confirm speculation that Gulf of Mexico Sperm Whales constitute a stock that is distinct from other Atlantic Ocean stocks(s). Sperm whales were commercially hunted in the Gulf of Mexico by American whalers from sailing vessels until the early 1900s. In the northern Gulf of Mexico (i.e., U.S. Gulf of Mexico), systematic aerial and ship surveys indicate that sperm whales inhabit continental slope and oceanic waters, where they are widely distributed. Seasonal aerial surveys confirm that sperm whales are present in at least the northern Gulf of Mexico in all seasons. The best available estimates indicate a population of around 1,500 Sperm Whales in the northern Gulf of Mexico. (Waring et al. 2009 and references therein)

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine


  • Physeter australasianus Desmoulins, 1822 (synonym)
  • Physeter australis Gray, 1846 (synonym)
  • Physeter catodon Linnaeus, 1758 (synonym)


[Anonymous] (2009).  U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Marine Mammal Stock Assessments--2009. (WaringG T., JosephsonE., Maze-FoleyK., RoselP E., Ed.).NOAA Tech Memo NMFS NE 213. 528 pp..