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Enteroctopus dofleini, The Giant Pacific Octopus

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Enteroctopus dofleini, the Giant Pacific Octopus, is found in the Pacific Ocean from California to Alaska to Japan and several subspecies are known.

Mature giant octopuses are commonly found in the 10-15 kg range although one specimen weighted 272 kg and measured 9.6 meters arm to arm.

These large cephalopods are thought to live for 3-5 years at temperatures around 10°C.

Females lay hundreds of thousands of eggs which they brood for approximately 6 months. As with most octopuses, the female dies as the eggs start to hatch. The small (22 mg) hatchlings spend the first part of their life in the plankton.

A single giant octopus was raised from egg to maturity in the Seattle Aquarium.

Female gaurding eggs at Hood Canal (80 foot depth). Paul tells me that this female was featured on the Discovery Channel show ”Ultimate Guide to Octopus” in September 1998.

Check out The Giant Octopus Web Page by Dr. David Scheel.

References and Credits


These photographs were taken by Paul Hughes. The photograph to the right was shot at one of Paul's study sites in the Puget Sound. The octopus has scars, possibly from a fight over a den.


Anderson, Rolland - pers comm.
Cosgrove, Jim - pers comm.
Hartwick, B. 1983 Cephalopod Life Cycles Boyle, P. R. ed Academic Press, London

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The Cephalopod Page (TCP), © Copyright 1995-2018, was created and is maintained by Dr. James B. Wood, Associate Director of the Waikiki Aquarium which is part of the University of Hawaii. Please see the FAQs page for cephalopod questions, Marine Invertebrates of Bermuda for information on other invertebrates, and and the Census of Marine Life for general information on marine biology.