Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Giant Pacific Octopus Octopus dofleini


enlarge +

Giant Pacific Octopus
credit: NOAA/R. N. Lea

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Category: Cephalopods view all from this category

Description Enteroctopus dofleini, also known as the Giant Pacific Octopus or North Pacific Giant Octopus, is a large cephalopod belonging to the genus Enteroctopus. It can be found in the coastal North Pacific, usually at a depth of around 65 meters (215 ft). It can, however, live in much shallower or much deeper waters. It is arguably the largest octopus species, based on a scientific record of a 71 kg (156.5 lb) individual weighed live. The alternative contender is the Seven-arm Octopus based on a 61 kg (134 lb) carcass estimated to have a live mass of 75 kg (165 lb). However, there are a number of questionable size records that would suggest E. dofleini is the largest of all octopus species by a considerable margin.

The Giant Pacific Octopus, are distinguished from other species by their sheer size. Adults usually weigh around 15 kg (33 lb), with an arm span of up to 4.3 m (14 ft). However, there are highly questionable records of specimens up to 272 kg (600 lb) in weight with a 9 m (30 ft) arm span. The mantle of the octopus is spherical in shape and contains most of the animal's major organs. By contracting or expanding tiny pigment-containing granules within cells known as chromatophores in its tissue, an octopus can change the color of its skin, giving it the ability to blend in to the environment.

Habitat Rocks, Tidepools.

Range Northwest, California, Alaska, Western Canada.