Giant Pacific Octopus - Characteristics, Diet and Habitat

Giant Pacific octopus: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. We know more and more about the amazing abilities of...

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We know more and more about the amazing abilities of these octopods, marine invertebrates endowed with such intelligence that it is hard to believe it real. However, scientific studies continue to support these behavioral aspects in octopuses, proving that intelligence is not reserved only for vertebrates and that it depends above all on a complex nervous system.

Many legends and even movies have been inspired by these particular marine predators, since, for example, among these animals is the species Enteroctopus dofleini, which impresses many due to its large size (it is largest octopus in the world).In this PlanetAnimal file you will find important information related to the characteristics of the giant Pacific octopus, come on, let's go!


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Characteristics of the Giant Pacific Octopus

There is no doubt that when you think of the characteristics of the giant pacific octopus, the first thing that comes to mind is its incredible size, and that is that the giant pacific octopus is a kind of muscular body that weighs between 50 and 100 kg for a height of more than 4 meters. Nevertheless, specimens with dimensions larger than these have been recorded. Its legs are 3 to 5 times longer than its body. Each leg has two rows of suction cups and these have proven to have a great capacity to support weight.This species of octopus is also characterized by the presence of an ink sac and, in the case of males, by extremely long spermatophores, measuring more than 1 meter.

This species usually has an orange to red-brown color, with fine dark and irregular lines, however, it is able to change color. Its skin gives the sensation of being soft and is wrinkled with lots of parallel longitudinal folds, which undoubtedly allows it to blend more easily among corals and rocks. Additionally, this octopus usually has two large, flattened papillae on each eye, which are clearly visible.

The giant Pacific octopus stands out not only for its size, but it is also one of the longest living! eh yes ! its life expectancy is about four years!

Habitat of the Giant Pacific Octopus

The depth levels in which this animal is found are considerably variable, ranging from 0 to 1500 meters deep, depending on the area where it decides to stay.The giant Pacific octopus prefers rocky habitats, with coral reef formations or substrates with shells, places it usually uses as burrows for months. However, it can also be seen in sandy and muddy bottoms. Generally, individuals that live further north do so in areas with intertidal reefs, while those that live in the south live deeper.

Given its wide range of distribution in the Pacific, water temperatures can vary depending on the area it is found. Thus, the giant Pacific octopus can be found in the temperate waters of southern California or, on the contrary, in the cold maritime spaces of Alaska, which is why it is also known as the giant California octopus. .

Studies have found that the Giant Pacific Octopus may be a synanthropic species, meaning it has adapted to live in human-impacted sea areas, in this case precise, in urbanized places and in contact with the marine area.In this way, this animal has found in the waste or constructions that reach the sea ideal spaces to establish their dens.

Habits of the Giant Pacific Octopus

The Giant Pacific Octopus is mainly active at night, it is a solitary animal except when it is time to breed. She is shy and very unaggressive. However, there are reports of non-fatal accidents in which some divers, not noticing the presence of this octopus because it is too well camouflaged, get too close and are attacked by the animal.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the behavior of the giant Pacific octopus is to enter a state of senescence or aging right after reproduction, which also occurs in other octopuses. In the case of the giant Pacific octopus, when this happens, it shows white spots on its body that appear to be some kind of lesion.For their part, the females stop feeding and devote themselves totally to the protection of their eggs, because these are hunted by many predators. The males also decrease their food intake and stop hiding, so they are exposed and more easily hunted by various marine animals.

Giant Pacific Octopus Feeding

Thanks to its large size, Enteroctopus dofleini is a large marine predator that consumes a wide variety of prey, both invertebrates and vertebrates. It feeds mainly on bivalve molluscs, gastropods and decapod crustaceans, the shells of which it pierces. It also eats shark eggs, lobsters, echinoderms, brachiopods, a wide variety of fish including small sharks, as well as other octopuses and seabirds.

It has been identified that these animals can store toxic substances, such as heavy metals, in their bodies, which are the product of contaminated prey they hunt in marine areas polluted by human action.So far, it is not known in concrete terms what the consequence of these chemicals may be in the body of this octopus.

Reproduction of the Giant Pacific Octopus

The largest octopus in the world breeds at different times of the year. In summer, it does this in deep waters, while in autumn and winter, this animal opts for waters closer to the coast. Females manage to lay up to over 100,000 eggs, which are oddly small for the size of an adult female. The males can be with more than one female, while the latter will only be with a single male with which they will reproduce only one all their life. Females tend to prefer males larger than her and once they find each other they will move to a hidden and safe place to mate.

The eggs of the giant Pacific octopus occur in burrows chosen by the females, where they are arranged in ribbons or clusters in rock crevices.The female does not separate from the eggs until they hatch and die soon after, because, remember, they completely stop feeding during the incubation period in order to protect their young as much as possible. The males, meanwhile, also die about three or four months after breeding.

Egg hatching time can last 5-6 months, however, the increase in temperature plays an important role, accelerating or decreasing the development and birth of young. Once born, they are part of the plankton and stay there for 1 or 2 months. During this period, they are very vulnerable to attack from any type of predator.

Conservation status of the giant Pacific octopus

The giant Pacific octopus does not belong to any category within endangered species and is considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to have a status of least concern.Its population status is unknown, although it is known to have a high reproductive rate given the number of eggs females manage to lay.

However, just because it's not listed as an endangered animal doesn't mean it doesn't face many dangers. The main threats to the species can be fishing, due to their high commercial interest, as well as capture by divers to keep them in captivity and display them in aquariums. Unfortunately, to date, there are no protective measures for the conservation of the species.

The giant Pacific octopus, like all its octopod relatives, is very intelligent and is able to learn how to get out of a maze or open jars. On the other hand, climate change and its effects on the temperature of the oceans is a very important aspect that can have an impact on these marine animals by modifying the incubation periods.

If you are interested in the subject, check out the article in which you are told How to protect endangered animals. One of the most important measures to combat the decline of many species is not to encourage threats to them. Before visiting a zoo or aquarium whose goals are not to help species, remember the impact of keeping them in these conditions.

Photos of Giant Pacific Octopus

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