Pacific Giant Octopus (juvenile)
Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington
Archival Pigment Print
This young octopus is probably transitioning from a life in the plankton, where it spent its earliest days, to one crawling on the bottom, where it will live out its adulthood. Students collected the animal in surface waters off a dock at night, but its long arms, excellent crawling abilities, and well-developed coloration suggest that it’s already spending considerable time on the bottom. A member of the world’s largest octopus species, it may grow to weigh 45 kilograms (99 pounds) or more during its three-to-five-year life span (one individual was recorded at 272 kilograms [600 pounds]), on a diet of crustaceans, clams, fish, and even the occasional seabird captured in the intertidal.