Octopus rubescens “Pacific Red Octopus” Cephalopoda

Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, OR
June 12, 2015
Robert Niese


The Pacific Northwest inter- and subtidal zones are home to two species of octopus. O. rubescens is by far the most commonly encountered cephalopod in tidepools along the coast, although, in some regions of Washington, the Giant Pacific Octopus is more abundant. Unlike the somewhat terrifying Giant Pacific Octopus which can reach an arm-spread of over 9m (30ft) and can weigh up to 275kg (600lb), the Red Octopus rarely reaches an arm spread of more than 50cm and is a much more dainty and adorable octopus. Its preferred foods are crustaceans such as hermit crabs, shore crabs, and prawns and, as such, are often accidentally captured in crab and shrimp traps. Be warned, in spite of their adorable, smushy appearance, Red Octopuses are rather strong and really like to bite!

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