Last updated: June 14, 2018 at 3:59 am
The giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) weighs up to 272 kg (600 lbs) and can reach lengths up to 7.3 m (24 ft) from opposing arm tips. Average weight is 23-40 kg (50-88 lbs). Enteroctopus dofleini only lives 3-5 years. Mature female E. dofleini have 2240 suckers (280 per arm). The giant Pacific octopus is frequently observed in shallow water by divers in British Columbia, the state of Washington, and the Pacific coast of Russia. When left unmolested, it poses no risk. There are approximately 300 different octopus species.
Scientists from Alaska Pacific University’s Alaska Octopus Project revealed the discovery of a new species of giant Pacific octopus in November 2017. As of February 2018, the yet unnamed species, which is believed to be related to Enteroctopus dofleini, is referred to as the frilled giant Pacific octopus. It is visually distinguishable from its cousin by a lateral mantle frill (bumpy ridge) across its body, fleshy “eyelashes,” two white spots on its forehead, and the absence of longitudinal mantle folds. Its existence had been suspected since 2012, when Alaska Pacific University and U.S. Geological Survey researchers discovered different DNA in giant Pacific octopuses collected from in Alaska’s Prince William Sound.
James Cosgrove. Super Suckers, The Giant Pacific octopus. BC: Harbour Publishing.
Nathan Hollenbeck & David Scheel. 2017. Body Patterns of the Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus, a New Species of Octopus from Prince William Sound, AK. American Malacological Bulletin 35 (2): 134-144; doi: 10.4003/006.035.0206
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.