Blue rings’ lethality, coupled with their dazzling eponymous markings, exert a powerful allure on some aquarium aficionados—“daredevils,” Slemp calls them. "We are in a data vacuum," says Andrew Rhyne, a biologist at Roger Williams University, in Bristol, Rhode Island. To determine whether and how imports of octopuses and other aquarium species are affecting wild populations, it would help greatly to know just how many are being imported. She felt "something soft and squishy" inside one rock oyster shell. © 2020 (Animal Spot). Each captive or aquarium pet is known to have a unique temperament and personality and can be both playful and destructive. The U.S. Individuals reach sexual maturity at around two to three years of age, though they only live to be about four to five years old. Before a courtship can begin between two octopuses, they first need to find each other. The striped, or wunderpus, octopus was discovered in the 1980s. Other vendors still offer them, even online. During mating, the male octopus inserts a specialized arm called a hectocotylus into … When he began his research, he kept his octopuses in bare containers. With an average lifespan of 3 years, the giant pacific octopus is the longest living octopus on the planet. 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 giant Pacific octopus is considered to be long-lived compared to other species, with lifespans typically 3–5 years in the wild. James Wood also hails the idea. All rights reserved. Photograph by David Liittschwager, Nat Geo Image Collection. Like most other octopus species, they would squirt out black ink from their sack when attacked, and then jet away quickly. 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. But trade volumes and trends are largely matters of anecdote and speculation. 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 is a cephalopod species native to the northern Pacific Ocean. 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. Some would eat their own arms,” he says. Rhyne's team found many discrepancies between the import declarations and the more detailed invoices. Body/Appearance: The skin is reddish pink, having faint venation patterns all over. The average Giant Pacific Octopus measures 8 to 16 feet in length and weighs 80 to 160 pounds. Which creature has three hearts, eight arms and a doughnut shaped brain? Octopus are mollusks, which means they are from the same phylum (or family) as slugs, snails, cuttlefish and … The male dies a few months afterwards, while female dies shortly after the eggs hatch. Let’s just get it out there right off the bat—this species holds the record for the largest … And they worry about the danger posed to naïve hobbyists by the alluring, but lethally venomous, blue-ringed octopus. Such traits make octopuses stars of the page and screen. They have relatively short lifespans with some only living for 6 months the giant Pacific octopus can live for approximately 5 years. How many hearts does an octopus have? 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 IUCN Red List has not enlisted/categorized this octopus species. Others, such as the fabled but delicate mimic, do much worse. Image from Wikimedia Commons. 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. 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. More blue-ring fatalities may go unidentified, however, because the bites are painless and the mode of death—respiratory paralysis—can be caused by other toxins and nerve, muscle, and lung conditions. The Giant Pacific Octopus: Enteroctopus dofleini. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. This may reflect a lack of information—for example, in the case of the mimic octopus. 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. 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). As of 2013, the largest one on record was 43 feet long. 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. 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. The average longevity of the Giant Pacific Octopus is 4.5 to 5 years in both captivity and the wild. Once this task is completed, it will die. Males possess a modified sex arm called a hectocotylus that stores long ropes of sperm. To make up for its relatively short lifespan, the octopus is extremely prolific. Biologist Rich Ross, who once worked in the commercial aquarium trade, proposes a private-sector solution to the information drought: “a cooperative of responsible saltwater aquarium dealers” that could both track the trade and promote sustainable practices. The giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is often cited as the largest known octopus species. Maori Octopus. Is it wrong to keep octopuses in captivity? Incredible Adaptations. Though almost all members of the octopus family can change color, this amazing creature is said to be the master of disguise in self-defense. 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.". 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. They quickly became the darlings of the nature programs. Aquarium hobbyists can be allies in this cause, she argues, contributing to public and scientific understanding of these previously overlooked animals: "When people keep octopuses at home, they really get an attachment to them, and share that appreciation.". Giant Pacific Octopus Habitat Rhyne and his team, however, were able to partially fill the data vacuum. The adult or relatively larger octopuses practically do not have predators. Most common octopus species don’t live longer than two years. Their arms span up to 4.3 m or 14 ft. Those that manage to survive and attain about 5 grams of body weight begin to settle at the bottom of the ocean. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. 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. Most species live only one to two years, and a newly imported octopus may have just weeks left. 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. This species of octopus is the largest of 300+ known octopus species. 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/. 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 … 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. One blue ring can carry enough to kill 10 or more humans. “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. 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. One import of a mimic was recorded in 2008, two in 2009, and 30 in 2011, the last year available. This was a potentially lethal blue-ringed octopus that my unsuspecting daughter had handled just minutes earlier.". For octopuses, mating is a pretty subdued affair. Required fields are marked *. 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?”. It is a very smart creature and can mimic other species and even patterned rocks. 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. Octopuses typically die shortly following breeding. The gestation period of the female is one month. Even so, it’s unclear whether all the fascination is hurting octopuses. 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). Endangered Species Act (ESA). 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. After birth, the baby octopuses would measure about a quarter of an inch, weighing around 22 milligrams. Larvae hatch from a cluster of eggs and are on average 9.5 to 10.1 mm in length. ), their protean shape- and color-shifting, even their playfulness and idiosyncratic personalities. Creating Pacific Octopuses For Enteroctopus dofleini, reproduction is the ultimate purpose in life. As with most creatures, the octopus's main purpose in life is to reproduce. The giant Pacific octopus, like all species of octopus, have eight arms on top of which sit a bulbous ‘mantle’. 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. When found, the pair will swim deeper into the water, within 40 and 170 feet, to search for a den where they can copulate. Its aggressiveness and predatory behavior as envisioned by authors like Jules Verne is the stuff of legend, but the giant squid does exist. Some robust common species, such as the California two-spot octopus, get along relatively well in captivity. Instead, they’re adopting custom ordering, which reduces excess shipments of animals and therefore mortality. The giant Pacific octopus is the biggest octopus species. This stage on an average lasts for 30-90 days. The store’s receptionist hung up abruptly when I identified myself and asked about their blue rings. Reproduction. ), “Word got out,” Ross says. ", University of Lethbridge animal psychologist Jennifer Mather, a pioneering researcher into octopus cognition and personality, sees octopuses as "the poster child for invertebrate animal welfare"—worthy of the same rights as animals that look more like us. “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. "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. Every year, up to 3,500 tons of these octopuses are caught in North America, where fishing and consuming octopus is not a taboo. (The mimic is also reclusive and nocturnal and unlikely to display its famous shape-shifting in a tank. The largest specimen of this species to be scientifically documented was an animal with a live mass of 71 kg (156.5 lb). Giant Pacific Octopus are semelparous, meaning they reproduce once then die. Weight: Generally, 110 to 150 pounds for a matured individual. 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). We'd like to introduce you to Hank, he's a Giant Pacific Octopus and the star of our brand new attraction, Octopus Hideout. The specimen had fleshy frills, bumpy ridges all over the body, and two white spots on the head. These animals are not at all aggressive (but somewhat shy and timid), and would rarely attack or bite humans unless threatened. 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. Many other octopuses go through a lifespan in one year, from egg to end of life. 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. “It can cost a couple thousand dollars just to get set up," says Reyna Bueno, of Barrier Reef Aquariums, a leading Seattle-area vendor. The male members in this species die within a few months of mating, while the females die shortly after the eggs hatch. 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. 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. The Giant Pacific Octopus (or, the North Pacific Giant Octopus) is the world’s largest and longest-living octopus species that are known for their high intelligence. Once the octopus reaches adulthood, it will eventually get the urge to mate. That’s partly because records of imports of cephalopods to the United States are spotty and out of date. Both the male and female octopuses die soon after mating. During this time, it leads a solitary existence, breeding only one time. An octopus's garden The adult giant Pacific octopus eats a wide assortment of seafood including crabs, clams and other mussels. 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. Adults usually weigh around 15 kg (33 lb), with an arm span of up to 4.3 m (14 ft). 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. “All the reasons you would use enrichment for vertebrates apply to octopuses,” Wood says. “I’ve seen them in pet shops and home aquaria where owners didn’t know what it was,” Slemp says. 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. The Giant Pacific Octopuses are exceptionally intelligent creatures. "It's completely possible we will see an influx," he says. Octopuses living in Captivity becomes relatively short life span and as little as six months. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- “I get asked all the time, ‘Can you get octopuses?’” says Jeff Slemp, proprietor of a store called Cuttlefish and Corals Sustainable Saltwater Aquariums, in Portland, Oregon. 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. 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. These cephalopods are polygamous. 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). They’re big. [ Average Weight: 22 – 26.5 lbs. Some, such as the California two-spot octopus, appear to fare relatively well in captivity. Little is known about the behavior of these enigmatic creatures. 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. "Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is home to a giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). It would be something along the lines of various angler's groups and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which represents public institutions. "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.". Custom ordering also enables responsible vendors to evaluate purchasers and advise them about best practices. Size: The average length of an adult is about 15-16 feet across, which might as well be larger. A few species have fla… Average Lifespan: … So now you’ve got something that’s potentially deadly, that’s pretty, that children are attracted to, on the loose.”. The color fades to white under the tentacles. 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. Both the sexes can breed year round. 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. The Giant Pacific octopus facts for kids is an amazing collection of some of the most interesting facts about Giant Pacific octopus. Scientists have … When it comes to mating, a single female will move out in search of a male that should be typically larger than it. “Some would crawl up the containers, out of the water, and just dry out. Did you know that giant Pacific octopuses get "attached" to their aquarists—in a good way? By and by, the juveniles get drifted by the ocean current for about three months, feeding only on planktons. The female would die soon after the hatchlings come out of the eggs. During their life span, many octopus … Octopuses in general usually live no more than a year! 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. 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. Giant Pacific Octopus at SEA LIFE. It is the largest octopus species in the world, the largest specimen ever having weighed 600 pounds and more than 30 feet across! The largest Giant Pacific Octopus ever caught measured about 30 feet across and weighed over 600 pounds. The lifespan of giant Pacific octopuses is characterized by a fast growth period that continues throughout its entire life of 4 to 5 years. You guessed it: it’s the octopus! 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 … 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. Giant Pacific Octopus Facts for Kids. The giant Pacific octopus grows bigger and lives longer than any other octopus species. By the time the young ones are a year old, they grow to around 2 pounds. The giant Pacific octopus can be found in southern California, northward along the coast of North America, across the Aleutian Islands and southward to Japan. 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. Average Length: 3.3 ft – 6 ft 7 in. The purchase is also a short-term investment. One, Pete’s Aquariums in Fishkill, New York, lists blue rings at $199.99 but notes that they’re sold out. In some countries, they are valued as seafood, being especially popular in Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. Blue rings carry enough nerve toxin to kill 10 or more humans. He thinks keeping blue rings is “a really bad idea” and refuses to sell them. 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. 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! The reclusive, delicate mimic octopus doesn’t do well. Eyes: Eyes are circular with the retractable skin around them to protect. Another celebrated octopus presents a different concern. An adult of these cephalopods has enough strength to move more than 700 pounds. The ink of this animal is poisonous. The female stops eating during this care and her life ends soon after the eggs hatch. And at aquariums around the world, octopuses are reliable crowd pleasers. The giant Pacific octopus is the longest-lived octopus species, usually living 3 to 5 years in the wild. Sometimes, an individual would spend in a cave for weeks, crawling out only when hungry. He had recruited his teenage daughter to help him scour reef samples for the mantis shrimp he was studying off Australia's Lizard Island. 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. (Ross is now with the Albright Laboratory, a coral-reef research and restoration facility affiliated with the aquarium.) A DNA analysis has suggested that this octopus might have three subspecies, with one being in Alaska, one in Japan, and the third one in Puget Sound, though nothing has been officially confirmed as yet.
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