The Port Townsend Marine Science Center just received a baby Pacific Giant Octopus from the SPU lab at Fort Casey. She is currently a little bigger than a golf ball and settling into her new habitat quite nicely. In fact, posted below is a video of her catching a shore crab in her new tank!
The Pacific Giant Octopus (Enteroctopus dolfleini) is one of the largest octopi in the world, growing over 9 meters in length and weighing over 45kg at full maturity. Like vertebrates, octopi have both long and short term memories. They are also very smart and may learn to solve problems (like getting food out of a closed jar) by trial and error, experience, and perhaps by observational learning. Once the problem is solved they are able to solve it and other similar problems repeatedly. Another fascinating fact about octopi (and Cephalopods) is their ability to change color. Special pigment cells (chromatophores) in the skin are activated and consist of three bags containing different colors that can be adjusted individually, to change the octopus to its desired color pattern. Coloration often reflects the mood of the octopus but it also greatly used for camouflaging with its environment.
Come by the PTMSC and see her! Though she may be a little shy.
Your friendly Marine Scientist and PTMSC Fall Intern,
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