Giant Pacific Octopus

GIANT PACIFIC OCTOPUS (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the largest species of octopus in the world. It is found in the northern Pacific Ocean from the northwest coast of the continental United States to Japan, including Puget Sound.

Giant Pacific Octopus; Photo by Kip F. Evans
Giant Pacific Octopus; Photo by Kip F. Evans
"When fully extended from arm tip to arm tip, the Giant Pacific Octopus can measure an average of 16 feet long. It has a highly developed brain and acute vision. Although it is usually reddish-brown, the giant Pacific octopus is a master of camouflage and can quickly change its skin color and texture to match its surroundings. Due to its large size, only the largest fish (such as halibut and lingcod) and marine mammals are any threat to adults. It typically pounces on its prey, envelops it with its inter-arm webbing, and uses its beak to tear off pieces or break open hard-shelled prey."   --Encyclopedia of the Sanctuary: Cordell Bank, NOAA; National Marine Sanctuaries


Alaska to southern California


Rocky shores in tide pools and in areas from the low-tide line to depths of 1,650 feet


Crabs, clams, snails, small fishes, and even other octopus

Additional resources: 

Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Discard Mortality for Octopus



About the Author: 
The ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SANCTUARY is funded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) with support from the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP). Cordell Bank Director of NMS Program: Dan Basta Executive Director of NMSF: Lori Arguelles Director of Communications: Matt Stout Project Manager: Michael Hanrahan, The Ocean Channel Content Development: Jennifer Stock Design & Development: WMedia Inc. Video Production: Michael Hanrahan Stock Video Footage: CBNMS, CINMS, MBNMS, Jamie Hall, Scot Anderson, Kip F. Evans Data Research: Rob Ellis Contributing Photographers: CBNMS/Jody Pirtle, CBNMS/Linda Snook, CBNMS/Tara Anderson, CBNMS/Michael Carver, GFNMS, Peter Pyle, Rich Stallcup, Scot Anderson, Howard Hall, Cordell Expeditions- Don Dvorak , Kip F. Evans, Steve Lock, Peter Pyle, Ed Harper, Ed Greaves, Jamie Hall, Dave Wrobel, Nancy Black