Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Octopoda
Family: Octopodidae
Genus/:Species: Enteroctopus dofleini

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Giant Pacific octopuses are the largest species of octopus. Their large bulbous “head” (mantle) has 8 tentacles each bearing up to 280 suckers which have thousands of chemical receptors used to help detect prey. Very large specimens can have a tentacle span of more than 9 m (29 feet) from tip to tip, and weigh more than 45 kg (100 pounds).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Range throughout temperate Pacific waters, from southern California north to Alaska, west to the Aleutian Islands and Japan.
Giant Pacific octopuses are generally found in tidal pools and up to depths of 110 m (360 ft), although they can also reside in deeper waters of up to 1,500 m (4900 ft). They often live in dens or lairs, under boulders, and in rock crevices. Ideal habitat for this species includes a soft substrate of mud, sand or gravel that includes large boulders for creating dens.

DIET IN THE WILD: E. dofleini feed mostly on crustaceans (shrimps, crabs, scallops,) and mollusks (abalones, clams); fish and other octopuses are also Shells of prey that are difficult to pull or bite open can be “drilled” in order to gain access to the soft tissue: salivary secretions soften the shell, and a tiny hole is created with the radula (a toothed, hardened “tongue”). The octopus then secretes a toxin that paralyzes the prey and begins to dissolve it. The shell is pulled apart and the soft tissues are consumed.

REPRODUCTION: Lays up to 75,000 eggs in small caves where the female defends them until they hatch, which takes up to six months. The hatchlings then drift in ocean currents for several months, settle to the seafloor. Reproduction starts when they are one year old.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Predators include marine mammals (harbor seals, sea otters, and sperm whales). Also, occasionally are eaten by others of their own kind and are caught commercially. Life span is 4.5 to 5 years in the wild and captivity.


They can move more than 700 pounds using all of their arms.

It is considered one of the most intelligent of all invertebrates.


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium 2018

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