Look for: Mantle to 4"
Arms are four times body length
Normal color is reddish brown but can
change quickly to yellow, brown,
white, red or mottled
Diet: Night forager, scouring the sea bottom to flush
the snail's flesh. An octopus places the
empty shells of its prey outside its den
in what is often referred to as an
Notes: The octopus can change coloration in a fraction of a second to camouflage with its surroundings. It can also alter its skin texture to match sand or the smooth texture of a rock.
(Play video at right to see the red octopus undergo changes in its coloration.)
It's best not to touch a red octopus you may see in the intertidal. These creatures have sharp beaks and can bite. They then deposit venom on the wound which can slow healing.
Look for: Long, tapering body
2 longer tentacles with suckers on ends
Mantle not fused to head
Corneas over eyes
White to brown: color is most often
bluish-white or mottled brown and gold
but may change to dark red or brown
frightened or needing to camouflage.
Diet: A predatory carnivore feeding on small fish, crustaceans or other invertebrates.
Habitat: Lives in the nearshore (within 200 mi. of shore). Spends most of the year in deep water but enters shallow waters to spawn and lay eggs (July –September in Washington.
Range: Eastern Pacific, Baja California to Alaska
Life cycle: Lives about 4–9 mo. Life cycle includes egg, hatchling, juvenile and adult. Female lays
20–30 egg capsules containing 100–300 eggs each.
Notes: The opalescent squid's body is adapted for fast, long-distance swimming. It has great maneuverability, swimming forward as well as backwards.
This species is commonly referred to as market squid and is harvested as calamari.