June 18, 2021
Welcome to our Cool Critters series, where Marine Ecologist Jeff Adams shares the unique features of his favorite animals native to the Pacific Northwest. In honor of Cephalopod Week, today’s Cool Critter is the Giant Pacific Octopus!
The Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the largest octopus species, reaching lengths of up to 16 feet from arm tip to arm tip! They like to live in cold, oxygen-rich waters and use their giant suckers to capture prey items such as shrimp, crabs, abalone and fish. These giant critters can be found throughout the coastal North Pacific, including along the Washington coast. While these giants can weigh hundreds of pounds as adults, when they first hatch, they’re only the size of a grain of rice! Talk about a cool critter!
Photo Credit: NOAA/OCNMS; Jeff Adams, Marine Ecologist, Washington Sea Grant