CREATURE FEATURE: Giant Pacific Octopus

The Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is a large, marine invertebrate (soft-bodied) mollusc in the Octopoda order. Octopoda means eight limbs. It is a cephalopod, related to the squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus. 

The Octopus has a greyish, soft hollow body called a mantle. Its body can change shape and squeeze into small gaps. The mantle has gills (to breath), a brain, and a parrot-beaked mouth. Surrounding the mouth is eight limbs with suckers. It has two large eyes with excellent sight.

Giant Pacific Octopus

It grows to about 430 centimetres (168 inches) in length. 

It is native the Pacific Ocean. It inhabits marine (saltwater) coral reefs and lives on the sea floor. 

The limbs are often referred to as arms or tentacles, but it it more correct to call them limbs or appendages. 

The Octopus swims head first, and trails its limbs behind it. It has a siphon or funnel (located on the mantle), which is used to help the Octopus breathe, and it is also used for locomotion – it expels a jet of water that propels the Octopus forward. It can also crawl on the ocean floor.

It is a predatory, bottom-feeding animal. It feeds on fish, crabs, worms, molluscs, shellfish, and urchins. It often brings food to its den to eat later.

The octopus defends itself by camouflage to hide, or by expelling ink. The ink makes it difficult for predators to see it, and therefore it can swim away quickly. 

It is a solitary creature, rarely seen with another Octopus.

When the male fertilizes the female’s eggs, it dies. The female lays a string of 10,000 to 70,000 small eggs in a den or rock crevice. The eggs hatch after 160 days. The female looks after her eggs, and does not eat or leave her eggs. She dies soon after her eggs hatch. 

The Giant Pacific Octopus lives for about five years. 

Giant Pacific Octopus
Giant Pacific Octopus
Giant Pacific Octopus
Giant Pacific Octopus

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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