Giant Pacific Octopus Protect Their Eggs

Giant Pacific Octopus on Eggs by Steve Zedekar


Giant Pacific Octopus on Eggs by Steve Zedekar

Spring in the Pacific Northwest means that our female giant Pacific octopus are tending to their eggs. Divers can see this behavior at many of our most popular dive sites, including Redondo Beach, Three Tree Point, and Alki Seacrest Park (Cove 2).

The giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), also known as the North Pacific giant octopus is the largest species of octopus in the world and can weight up to 150 pounds and can have an arm span up to 20 feet. The largest ever measured weighed about 600 pounds and stretched 30 feet across! Unfortunately, they are also short lived with a life span of 2-3 years.

Giant Pacific Octopus Reproduction

After about two years, the female will seek out a male for her one time to reproduce and lay eggs. Once she finds a male, he will deposit a sperm packet into the female’s mantle. The female will then store the sperm packet until she is ready to fertilize eggs. The Seattle Aquarium has observed a female waiting seven months between mating and laying fertilized eggs. A typical female giant Pacific octopus can lay between 120,000 and 400,000 eggs.

Once the eggs have been laid, the female attaches them to a hard surface. She continuously blows nutrient rich water over the eggs, fanning and grooming them to remove algae and other growths. While she is tending to her eggs (typically around 6 months) the does not leave the den to hunt or eat. After the incubation period, the eggs hatch and tiny baby giant Pacific octopus leave the nest to and begin a period where they float freely in the ocean.

For the female giant Pacific octopus, she will die shortly after her eggs hatch. In the video below, skip to about 0:35 seconds to see a female tend and groom her eggs.

Ready to schedule your guided dive tour, to see giant Pacific octopus? Book your tour online, call us at (206) 265-0006, or e-mail to get started today!
[space height=”20″]

Olga the Giant Pacific Octopus tends to Eggs