Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Giant Pacific Octopus

Enteroctopus dofleini
The Giant Pacific Octopus is regarded as being the largest of all the Octopus species. Some specimens have weighed in at 150lbs! They have arms that can reach six feet in length, and the females are generally larger than the males. As with many Octopus species, they have special pigment cells in their skin that allow them to change color to match their surroundings.

As the name denotes, this Cephalopod lives in the Pacific Ocean-- specifically in the North Pacific. You'll find these Octopuses at a wide range of depths, from the shallow coasts to waters as deep as 1,500ft. They feed on Mollusks and Crustaceans, breaking shells with their strong beaks. For the extra tough prey, they have a organ called the Salivary Papilla. They can use this to bore into shells, and secrete saliva that can corrode the tough layers.

Giant Pacific Octopuses have a surprisingly short life-span. Five years tends to be their maximum life expectancy, and most live even fewer years than that. Females pass on while guarding their young, starving themselves so that their eggs stay safe. She may lay as many as 100,000 eggs, and will spend seven months in a den, tending to her offspring until they hatch. Though males do not take part in this obsessive brooding ritual, they too die not long after mating.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Pacific Ocean
Size : Weight up to 150lbs (68kg)
Classification : Phylum : Mollusca -- Class : Cephalopoda -- Order : Octopoda
Family : Octopodidae -- Genus : Enteroctopus -- Species : E. dofleini

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