Capodoglio (Physeter macrocephalus)
Escursioni nel Santuario dei Cetacei in Liguria | Whalewatching nel Mediterraneo | Birdwatching nel Golfo Ligure

Escursioni nel Santuario dei Cetacei in Liguria | Whalewatching nel Mediterraneo | Birdwatching nel Golfo Ligure Capodoglio (Physeter macrocephalus)

Capodoglio (Physeter macrocephalus)

The Sperm whale is the largest predator that currently exists on Earth and owes its name to an organ on its head, the spermaceti, which is filled with an oily substance.

Males can reach 18 meters in length.

It is very difficult to observe it on the surface as it is able to dive for more than two hours and at depths exceeding 2000 m. Usually, however, his dives last less than half an hour, during which the depths are never exceeded 500 m.

He is not a great swimmer, generally moving at a speed not exceeding 4 knots (7.5 km/h) and only for short stretches has he been seen to exceed 15 knots. The behavior on the surface is very different from that of fin whales: the sperm whale remains visible all the time, breathing with great regularity (5-6 puffs per minute). The duration of permanence on the surface is closely related to the duration of the previous dive. Particularity of the sperm whale’s blow is that it is low and inclined to one side. At the end of a breathing sequence, the sperm whale vertically lifts its tail out of the water and dives. The main component of the sperm whale’s diet is squid.

Sightings of sperm whales carried out by the boats of the Liguria Via Mare Consortium:

2023: 17 sperm whales sighted in 82 outings 

2022: 9 sperm whales sighted in 77 outings 

2021: sperm whales sighted in 55 outings

2020: 24 sperm whales sighted in 35 outings

2019: 11 sperm whales sighted in 33 outings

2018: 8 sperm whales sighted in 50 outings

2017: 11 sperm whales sighted in 39 outings

2016: 13 Sperm Whales sighted in 53 outings

2015: 14 sperm whales sighted in 43 outings

2014: 9 Sperm Whales sighted in 48 outings

2013: 8 sperm whales sighted in 55 outings

2012: 15 Sperm Whales sighted in 47 outings

2011 (data referring only to the April-June period): 3 sperm whales sighted in 20 outings

2010: 22 Sperm Whales sighted in 83 outings

To view the complete list of sightings click here.

Look at the photos of the sperm whales spotted during our outings.