Sounds Wild


Download Episode: Octopus (MP3 file 2,008 kB)



Beneath the surface of Alaska's coastal waters lurks the largest species of octopus in the world, the giant north pacific octopus. The animals can be more than 100 pounds, and stretch more than 20 feet from arm tip to arm tip. In Alaska waters they are more commonly 40 to 80 pounds. But what's remarkable is how quickly these animals grow - the giant octopus lives just three to five years and dies after mating.

Sherry Tamoney, a marine biologist with the University of Alaska Southeast, worked with a team of researchers to study the giant octopus in Kachemak Bay. (12 sec Quote: We caught octopuses and one gained 12 pounds in five weeks)

The giant pacific octopus mates just once in its relatively short life. Females lay 20,000 to 100,000 eggs and tends them throughout the five to seven month incubation period.