The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) or cachalot /ˈkæʃəˌlɒt, ˈkæʃəˌloʊ/ is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. It is the only living member of genus Physeter and one of three extant species in the sperm whale family, along with the pygmy sperm whale and dwarf sperm whale of the genus Kogia.
The sperm whale's unique body is unlikely to be confused with any other species. The sperm whale's distinctive shape comes from its very large, block-shaped head, which can be one-quarter to one-third of the animal's length. The S-shaped blowhole is located very close to the front of the head and shifted to the whale's left. This gives rise to a distinctive bushy, forward-angled spray.
In contrast to the smooth skin of most large whales, its back skin is usually wrinkly and has been likened to a prune by whale-watching enthusiasts. Albinos have been reported.
Physalus cylindricus, Delphinus bayeri, Catodon (Meganeuron) krefftii, Catodon australis, Catodon colneti, Catodon macrocephalus, Cetus cylindricus, Phiseter cylindricus, Phiseter mular, Phiseter trumpo, Physeter andersonii, Physeter australasiensis, Physeter australis, Physeter catodon, Physeter maximus, Physeter novaeangliae, Physeter orthodon, Physeter tursio, Physeterus sulcatus, Tursio vulgaris
The cause of the population reduction in this species (commercial whaling) is reversible, understood, and is not currently in operation.
Empirical trend data for this species globally are unavailable. However, commercial whaling at a large scale for this species in the North Pacific and Antarctic within the last three generations (82 years) certainly resulted in a global decline during this period.
There is credible and realistic evidence for either the Vulnerable or Near Threatened category. Given that the results give greater probability for at least the Vulnerable category (60%), and that this is the more precautionary category, the species is classified as Vulnerable.