Giant Pacific Octopus Facts for Kids. All octopuses probably carry some venom, but only the various golf ball-size blue-ringed species, which range from southern Japan to Australia, are known to pack a lethal dose. Fish and Wildlife Service, which regulates the nation’s wildlife trade, requires that import declarations be filed for all species coming in, as well as a more detailed invoice for each wildlife shipment. “We have to make sure they have the background, make sure they have the knowledge to treat the things that pop up.". “It can cost a couple thousand dollars just to get set up," says Reyna Bueno, of Barrier Reef Aquariums, a leading Seattle-area vendor. Its aggressiveness and predatory behavior as envisioned by authors like Jules Verne is the stuff of legend, but the giant squid does exist. This was a potentially lethal blue-ringed octopus that my unsuspecting daughter had handled just minutes earlier.". (Ross is now with the Albright Laboratory, a coral-reef research and restoration facility affiliated with the aquarium.) Individuals reach sexual maturity at around two to three years of age, though they only live to be about four to five years old. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/10/pet-octopuses-are-a-problem.html, Cuttlefish and Corals Sustainable Saltwater Aquariums, “Mimic Octopuses: Will We Love Them to Death?”, declares People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, See what happened at the most recent CITES conference, Marine Aquarium and Biodiversity Trade Flow. The store’s receptionist hung up abruptly when I identified myself and asked about their blue rings. Each captive or aquarium pet is known to have a unique temperament and personality and can be both playful and destructive. Find out about these and other octopus facts. The length of time that passes between hatching, reproduction and death varies among octopus species. Wood and other experts fear that too much enthusiasm may endanger two of the most dazzling and mediagenic, but little studied and potentially rare, species: the striped or wunderpus octopus (discovered in the 1980s) and its cousin, the mimic octopus (identified only in 1998). A male can mate with several females, but the female can reproduce only once in their lifetime. Some would eat their own arms,” he says. © 2020 (Animal Spot). Vendors and importers sometimes conflate the two species, but that doesn’t stop them from offering both to collectors willing to pay $200 or more for one. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), by agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service, obtained the invoices for imports of aquarium species during three complete years (2008, 2009, and 2011) and parts of 2004 and 2005. Incredible Adaptations. “This is not an animal to be taken on lightly.” The fact that octopuses seem very intelligent deters some people, who have qualms about treating them badly, from buying them. Blue rings’ lethality, coupled with their dazzling eponymous markings, exert a powerful allure on some aquarium aficionados—“daredevils,” Slemp calls them. Rhyne's team found many discrepancies between the import declarations and the more detailed invoices. It would lay the eggs in a safe den, with a single egg being the size of a rice grain, while the total count can range from anything between 18,000 and 74,000 (with an average of 50,000). All rights reserved. The female stops eating during this care and her life ends soon after the eggs hatch. If it releases the ink in a confined space and then fails to move away in time, it will possibly fall sick or even die by ingesting its own venom. Wunderpus and mimic octopuses are the ultimate quick-change artists, hiding in plain sight by impersonating everything from rocks and seaweed to sea snakes and lionfish. But when he cracked the shell open, "a tangle of arms covered with small iridescent blue spots spewed from the fissure,” he wrote on the Cephalopod Page. Giant Pacific Octopus Take a close look at one of the most elusive and fascinating sea creatures found in Puget Sound: the giant Pacific octopus. Required fields are marked *. The giant Pacific octopus grows bigger and lives longer than any other octopus species. During their life span, many octopus … Did you know that giant Pacific octopuses get "attached" to their aquarists—in a good way? Giant Pacific Octopus are semelparous, meaning they reproduce once then die. “All the reasons you would use enrichment for vertebrates apply to octopuses,” Wood says. The result was a suggestive snapshot of the marine wildlife trade into the U.S., but even this small trove of data—all that we have on octopus imports—is outdated and imperfect. Octopuses typically die shortly following breeding. Demand in the U.S. seems to have begun growing in the few years for which official import data have been released, although the numbers were small. But, Ross adds, some conspicuous aquarium keepers accept the high costs and turnover as the price of displaying such charismatic creatures: “They think of these animals as cut flowers.". Average Lifespan: … The giant Pacific octopus, is one of two largest species of octopus, may live for as much as five years however all animals live longer in their own environments. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Giant Pacific Octopus Habitat NOAA funded Roger Williams University's Marine Aquarium and Biodiversity Trade Flow project to digitize and analyze the information in them. He found that these intelligent, curious animals need more than space, food, and clean water. This may be in part because some aquarium shops have stopped what Rich Ross, a former senior biologist at San Francisco's Steinhart Aquarium calls “supermarket-style” stocking of exotic pets. Body/Appearance: The skin is reddish pink, having faint venation patterns all over. They quickly became the darlings of the nature programs. Without mating the octopus may survive up to five years, and Giant Pacific octopus have been found to reach a weight of 600 pounds, and an estimated width of over 31 feet, But the average size is only 100 pounds and 3m, still weighing in as the largest species of octopus. Conclusive research is going on about an entirely new species of giant octopus, closely related to the Giant Pacific, which was discovered by marine scientists in Alaska in December 2017. "It's completely possible we will see an influx," he says. The giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is often cited as the largest known octopus species. During this time, it leads a solitary existence, breeding only one time. Giant pacific octopus (Enteroctopus Dofleini) is a long-lived and large cephalopod. “Octopuses are very charismatic,” says James Wood, a marine biologist turned aquarium operator based near Palm Beach, Florida. The male dies a few months afterwards, while female dies shortly after the eggs hatch. The specimen had fleshy frills, bumpy ridges all over the body, and two white spots on the head. Is it wrong to keep octopuses in captivity? ), their protean shape- and color-shifting, even their playfulness and idiosyncratic personalities. An adult of these cephalopods has enough strength to move more than 700 pounds. In addition to their high prices and expensive diets—heavy on live crabs and shrimp— octopuses need large, escape-proof tanks with ample hiding places, unassailable fixtures to withstand their powerful arms and inquisitive tampering, and no fish or other companions (they'll eat them). One of those pop-ups is the octopuses themselves. The Seattle Aquarium holds an annual Valentine’s Day party to mark the would-be mating of its giant Pacific octopuses (the world's largest species, sometimes weighing more than 100 pounds, with an arm span of up to 20 feet). The giant Pacific octopus, like all species of octopus, have eight arms on top of which sit a bulbous ‘mantle’. [ Average Weight: 22 – 26.5 lbs. Slemp isn't opposed on principle to keeping these big-brained, unusually smart mollusks as pets, but he won’t sell octopuses to just anyone. ), “Word got out,” Ross says. All rights reserved. The primary diet of the Giant Octopus includes various fishes, crabs, clams, cockles, fish eggs, abalone, scallops, other octopuses, marine birds like seagulls, and even small sharks. They’re big. The purchase is also a short-term investment. Giant Pacific Octopus at SEA LIFE. After birth, the baby octopuses would measure about a quarter of an inch, weighing around 22 milligrams. These animals are not at all aggressive (but somewhat shy and timid), and would rarely attack or bite humans unless threatened. The Seattle Aquarium holds an annual Valentine’s Day party to mark the would-be mating of its giant Pacific octopuses (the world's largest species, … It can lay between 120,000 and 400,000 eggs which are intensively cared for by the females. It is the largest octopus species in the world, the largest specimen ever having weighed 600 pounds and more than 30 feet across! It is a very smart creature and can mimic other species and even patterned rocks. Such traits make octopuses stars of the page and screen. Although there is no directed fishery for octopus in Alaska, octopus, in particular, the giant Pacific octopus, are caught incidentally in Alaskan commercial trawl, longline and pot fisheries. One import of a mimic was recorded in 2008, two in 2009, and 30 in 2011, the last year available. Eggs are coated in chorion, and the female attache… Just this month, the season premiere of PBS’s Nature series, "Octopus: Making Contact," told the endearing tale of the close relationship between an Alaskan professor and his daughter and their pet octopus. The giant Pacific octopus is the longest-lived octopus species, usually living 3 to 5 years in the wild. He urges even public aquariums to resist the lure of this trophy: “I honestly fear that if we cannot stem their collection, there will be no mimics to wonder at in a very few years.”. They have relatively short lifespans with some only living for 6 months the giant Pacific octopus can live for approximately 5 years. “It’s cool now to be a nerd, and they’re the ultimate nerd animals.” So it’s only natural that ardent aquarium hobbyists and newly sea-struck fans alike may get the urge to have their own eight-legged marvels. A giant Pacific octopus will live a solitary life until the very end, at which point it will seek out a mate, reproduce and die shortly thereafter. Most species live only one to two years, and a newly imported octopus may have just weeks left. Like most other octopus species, they would squirt out black ink from their sack when attacked, and then jet away quickly. Rhyne and his team, however, were able to partially fill the data vacuum. Internal Morphology: Like other octopuses, these are cool-blooded creatures, with three hearts that control their intricate circulatory and nervous systems, and nine brains to control different movements; the color of the blood is blue. So now you’ve got something that’s potentially deadly, that’s pretty, that children are attracted to, on the loose.”. The giant Pacific octopus is a very intelligent animal that can learn to open jars, play with toys and interact with — and even recognize — its handlers. "The U.S. and other countries do not have any system in place to monitor the trade and provide data" for wildlife, such as octopuses, not listed under CITES. But much remains unknown about them, especially about mimics, including how many inhabit the shallow seabeds off Sulawesi, Indonesia, and other Indo-Pacific islands where they’re found. The Giant Octopuses dwell in the cold temperate coastal waters up to a depth of 330 feet or more in the kelp forests, rocky areas, and caves. Average Length: 3.3 ft – 6 ft 7 in. They can protect them by changing their colors and patterns so accurately that they can blend themselves with the environment, including the minutely-detailed corals, rocks, and plants on the seabed. The adult giant Pacific octopus weighs around 33 lbs. Imports of blue rings to the U.S. grew steadily during a recent period, outpacing all other octopus species: 11 were documented in 2004, 348 in 2008, 494 in 2009, and 1,148 in 2011. On the Cephalopod Page website, which Wood edits, aquarist Christopher Shaw and University of California, Berkeley, biologist Roy Caldwell posted a package of articles under the headline, “Mimic Octopuses: Will We Love Them to Death?”. Any downturn also reflects the efforts of Wood and other experts to educate hobbyists and vendors about the costs and hazards of keeping these demanding super-mollusks. Some robust common species, such as the California two-spot octopus, get along relatively well in captivity. But it doesn’t compile import counts for octopuses and other unlisted species or readily release information from the invoices. (The mimic is also reclusive and nocturnal and unlikely to display its famous shape-shifting in a tank. “If there is one thing that we know about mimics,” Shaw writes, “it is that they are rare.” He notes that their Indonesian coastal habitat is being wiped out by runoff and mining and that they do poorly in captivity, which means many mimics likely die so one can survive a few months in a tank. He had recruited his teenage daughter to help him scour reef samples for the mantis shrimp he was studying off Australia's Lizard Island. For octopuses, mating is a pretty subdued affair. When Wood enriched their lives, adding “things to crawl into and explore, those self-destructive behaviors stopped.”, Some animal advocates believe that such creatures shouldn’t be kept in aquariums at all. Lifespan The average longevity of the Giant Pacific Octopus is 4.5 to 5 years in both captivity and the wild. The giant Pacific octopus is the biggest octopus species. In Seattle, the artists, writers, musicians, and scientists of the Cephalopod Appreciation Society gather each summer to celebrate octopuses and their squid and cuttlefish cousins in image, word, and song. The U.S. But trade volumes and trends are largely matters of anecdote and speculation. You guessed it: it’s the octopus! Larvae hatch from a cluster of eggs and are on average 9.5 to 10.1 mm in length. Caldwell recounts a close escape. They’re master escape artists, able to slop through thin cracks and out of all but the most securely sealed tanks—one of many traits that make them uniquely challenging and costly animals to keep. The service uses the volume of shipments received to determine staff needs and resources at the nation’s ports of entry. The giant Pacific octopus may between three to five years in the wild. “Octopuses escape. Size: The average length of an adult is about 15-16 feet across, which might as well be larger. The gestation period of the female is one month. Populations of giant Pacific octopus are thought to be stable in the north Pacific and increased popularity in the human food market has increased their value as by … Because they’re solitary, they can fare better in captivity than animals whose rich familial and social lives can’t be reproduced there—as long as they're provided a suitably rich environment. Description. Giant Pacific octopuses only live an average four to five years in the wild, yet they are still considered one of the longest-living octopus species. And they worry about the danger posed to naïve hobbyists by the alluring, but lethally venomous, blue-ringed octopus. After mating, a female will lay up to 74,000 eggs or more in a deep den or cave and live there for seven months watching over them. The giant Pacific octopus or ‘Enteroctopus Dofleini’ is the biggest known octopus species. Their saliva contains the potent nerve toxin tetrodotoxin, the same compound that makes California newts, harlequin frogs, and fugu pufferfish liver so deadly. Even so, it’s unclear whether all the fascination is hurting octopuses. "Life in a tank is no life at all for sensitive, intelligent octopuses," declares People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Blue-ring bites occur each year in Australia, but timely, vigorous artificial respiration usually prevents fatalities; only three have been confirmed during the past century, none involving aquariums. Once this task is completed, it will die. During mating, he inserts the rope of sperm, called a spermatophore, into the female’s oviduct. Reproduction. Scientists have … “Sometimes they hitchhike along on [chunks of coral reef], and you don’t even know you have one,” Wood says. Once found, they would use their arms (not to be confused with tentacles) to hold the prey tightly, and then use their sharp parrot-beaklike mouth to puncture the flesh and tear through. As of 2013, the largest one on record was 43 feet long. Giant pacific octopus has fat and round-shaped head. The octopus lifespan is relatively short, with some living lives that last only six months, but it varies depending on species. Custom ordering also enables responsible vendors to evaluate purchasers and advise them about best practices. Some, such as the California two-spot octopus, appear to fare relatively well in captivity. This may reflect a lack of information—for example, in the case of the mimic octopus. The range of this species range extends throughout the Pacific Ocean, starting from the south of California to Alaska, stretching to the west up to the Aleutian Islands and Japan. The Giant Pacific octopus facts for kids is an amazing collection of some of the most interesting facts about Giant Pacific octopus. The female would hang the eggs in many strands from the roof of a cave deep down in the ocean. Instead, they’re adopting custom ordering, which reduces excess shipments of animals and therefore mortality. To make up for its relatively short lifespan, the octopus is extremely prolific. Arms: Four pairs of arms extend from its mantle, with each pair having about 280 suckers or suction cups, which in turn are further made of many thousand chemical receptors that give them the power of sharp smell and taste. Sometimes, an individual would spend in a cave for weeks, crawling out only when hungry. On the very first day of birth, the hatchlings would have 14 suckers in each of their eight arms to help them feed on tiny planktons floating in the ocean water. Other vendors still offer them, even online. The Giant Pacific Octopuses are exceptionally intelligent creatures. We'd like to introduce you to Hank, he's a Giant Pacific Octopus and the star of our brand new attraction, Octopus Hideout. Meanwhile, Ross warns, the apparent recent lull in octopus imports could reverse at any time, especially because most of the species people want, including mimics and wunderpuses, come from weakly regulated collectors in Indonesia and the Philippines—the Wild West of marine wildlife collecting. Found in a small region of the Pacific Ocean, these creatures produce thousands of eggs, making their populations naturally resilient, though their exact numbers are not known. The striped, or wunderpus, octopus was discovered in the 1980s. “I’ve seen them in pet shops and home aquaria where owners didn’t know what it was,” Slemp says. Those that manage to survive and attain about 5 grams of body weight begin to settle at the bottom of the ocean. One, Pete’s Aquariums in Fishkill, New York, lists blue rings at $199.99 but notes that they’re sold out. Rather than crawling for cover like most octopuses, [the octopus] reared up while pulling back her first two pair of arms [and] exposing her mouth. Both the male and female octopuses die soon after mating. Most common octopus species don’t live longer than two years. Their arms span up to 4.3 m or 14 ft. The male members in this species die within a few months of mating, while the females die shortly after the eggs hatch. The ink of this animal is poisonous. Adults usually weigh around 15 kg (33 lb), with an arm span of up to 4.3 m (14 ft). That’s partly because records of imports of cephalopods to the United States are spotty and out of date. Many other octopuses go through a lifespan in one year, from egg to end of life. Weight: Generally, 110 to 150 pounds for a matured individual. The giant Pacific octopus starts life as tiny as a grain of rice, living in the surface water of the oceans for the first three months of their life. Photograph by David Liittschwager, Nat Geo Image Collection. Octopuses are well-known masters of camouflage and skillful escape artists, but they aren't exactly famous for their social skills. Such cavalier attitudes trouble Wood, who studied octopuses as a faculty member at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. Common octopuses, for example, may live only two years, while giant octopuses can live as long as three years but up to five years as long as they don't mate. The male dies not long after mating while the female is such a devoted mother that she does not leave her young to get food and usually dies … But Ross acknowledges that it hasn’t been easy to rally the industry; two previous efforts failed. This stage on an average lasts for 30-90 days. A slew of research papers, popular books, magazine articles, and nature documentaries celebrates their improbable intelligence (a mollusk with a vertebrate-size brain and problem-solving ability! Eyes: Eyes are circular with the retractable skin around them to protect. However, if it knew just what was waiting for it soon after, it might think twice. Even if that demand continued exponentially, it would be legal: None of the 300-plus known species of octopus is listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), which regulates cross-border trade in wildlife, or the U.S. James Wood also hails the idea. The organization cheers the celebrated flight of an octopus called Inky from New Zealand's National Aquarium in 2016: "His bold escape should send a message to aquariums to keep their tentacles off octopuses for good. The growing public fascination with octopuses doesn’t seem to have translated into surging sales—so far, anyway. Your email address will not be published. After hatching, the baby octopus(or larvae) take on the role of plankton, drifting around the ocean feeding on neuston (dead food) as opposed to hunting live prey. It would be something along the lines of various angler's groups and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which represents public institutions. How many hearts does an octopus have? 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Image from Wikimedia Commons. Octopus are mollusks, which means they are from the same phylum (or family) as slugs, snails, cuttlefish and … Before a courtship can begin between two octopuses, they first need to find each other. They typically live a solitary life, unless it is the time for reproduction, and are primarily nocturnal creatures, moving around at night to hunt for food. The largest specimen of this species to be scientifically documented was an animal with a live mass of 71 kg (156.5 lb). The short life span and reclusive tendencies of this species have proved a challenge for researchers. The Giant Pacific Octopus: Enteroctopus dofleini. The vision is exceptionally sharp. Little is known about the behavior of these enigmatic creatures. Every year, up to 3,500 tons of these octopuses are caught in North America, where fishing and consuming octopus is not a taboo. An octopus's garden The adult giant Pacific octopus eats a wide assortment of seafood including crabs, clams and other mussels. “Reading all the articles out there, people see themselves in these animals,” says a salesman at one leading marine-animal importer, who asked not to be named because he spoke without authorization. Maori Octopus. When it comes to mating, a single female will move out in search of a male that should be typically larger than it. Habitat: Where do the North Pacific Giant Octopus Live, Feeding Habits: What do the Giant Pacific Octopuses Eat, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enteroctopus_dofleini, https://www.arkive.org/north-pacific-giant-octopus/enteroctopus-dofleini/, https://wwwtest.tnaqua.org/our-animals/invertebrates/giant-pacific-octopus, https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/animal-guide/georgia-aquarium/home/galleries/cold-water-quest/gallery-animals/giant-pacific-octopus, http://aquarium.org/exhibits/giant-pacific-octopus/. Your email address will not be published. By and by, the juveniles get drifted by the ocean current for about three months, feeding only on planktons. Once the octopus reaches adulthood, it will eventually get the urge to mate. He thinks keeping blue rings is “a really bad idea” and refuses to sell them. "If anything,” says the sales manager at one aquarium-animal import company who requested anonymity because he was speaking without authorization, “I’ve seen a downturn over the years.". Endangered Species Act (ESA). "Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is home to a giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). The adult or relatively larger octopuses practically do not have predators. These cephalopods are polygamous. Lab tests have shown that they can be ‘friendly’ and learn to use tools, open jars, mimic other octopuses, and even solve mazes, or recognize human faces. Others, such as the fabled but delicate mimic, do much worse. And at aquariums around the world, octopuses are reliable crowd pleasers. However, to attain sexual maturity, they need to wait for a whole year during which time they are approximately 20 pounds.

giant pacific octopus lifespan

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