The giant Pacific octopus is the largest and longest-lived of all octopus species. The size record is held by a specimen 9 meters wide and weighing 272 kilograms. An average specimen is about 5 meters long and weighs 50 kilograms.
Giant Pacific octopus: the largest octopus species
They usually live about four years, and both males and females die shortly after reproduction. Females live long enough to care for their eggs with the utmost care, to the point that they do not take any food during the months of incubation, and die soon after.
The giant Pacific octopus has a huge bulbous head and a reddish-brown color. Like other members of the octopus family, they have special pigment cells in their skin that allow them to change color and texture and blend in with even the most intricate corals, plants and rocks.
Octopuses hunt at night and feed primarily on shrimp, clams, lobsters and fish, although they are also known to attack and devour sharks and birds, using their sharp beak-like mouths to pierce and tear the flesh of their prey.
Their range encompasses the temperate waters of the Pacific, from southern Californiato Alaska, and westward to the Aleutian Islands and Japan.
Creatures of great intelligence, giant Pacific octopuses have been shown to be able to open jars, mimic other octopuses and find their way out of mazes in laboratory tests.
Their population numbers are unknown, although they are not currently listed as vulnerable or endangered. They are known to be sensitive to environmental conditions and may be suffering from high levels of pollution in their habitats.