Project Description

Harry McGregor and I were intrigued when we barely noticed this camouflaged Pacific red octopus (Octopus rubescens) during a dive at Henderson Point.  It’s amazing how well this small octopus can match its surroundings.  The Pacific red octopus has many thousands of colour changing cells called chromatophores that allow this animal to quickly blend into its environment.  This small octopus can also dramatically change its texture by controlling muscles below the surface of its skin.  Three tiny bumps below each eye help with the identification of the small Pacific red octopus and differentiate it from a juvenile giant Pacific octopus.  The Pacific red octopus can have an arm span reaching 20 inches (50 cm) and weigh in at around a pound (0.4 kg), with a range from central Alaska to northern Mexico.