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Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest

Giant Pacific octopus

Giant Pacific octopus

(Enteroctopus dofleini)

The giant Pacific octopus inhabits shallow waters in many areas of the coast of the North Pacific from Southern California to Alaska and westward to Japan. It can be found from tide pools to depths of about 2,500 feet. It is the largest species of octopus, with the average adult weighing 50 to 90 lbs. and measuring about 16 feet from the top of the body to the tip of its arms. It reaches this size in less than four years.

The animal is very strong, incredibly flexible and can squeeze through very small crevices and holes in the reef. This allows it to hide from its predators (seals, sea otters, and large fish), while being able to reach its own prey (invertebrates and small fish). The hardest part of the octopuses’ body is its parrot-like beak which is made of keratin, the same substance that forms our fingernails. It uses its beak, located at its mouth, to tear its prey into pieces small enough to ingest.

Fun Facts

  • The female giant Pacific octopus lays between 18,000 to 100,000 eggs, which she guards for up to six months until they hatch.
  • The male giant Pacific octopus dies soon after mating. The female dies after her eggs hatch.
  • Each octopus arm can have as many as 1,800 suckers arranged in two rows.
  • Octopi have three hearts and their blood is blue.
  • The octopus can rapidly draw water into its mantle and expel it forcefully out through its tubular siphon, propelling itself backward.
  • Download full fact sheet

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