Common Name: Red Octopus
Scientific Name: Octopus rubescens
Species: O. rubescens
The Red Octopus is a somewhat small octopus, with an average mantle length of 8-10 cm (3.25-4 in) and an average weight of 100-150 grams (3.52-5.29 ounces). As its name suggests, the Red octopus is Red/Reddish-Brown; yet, like other octopi, it has the ability to change color ranging from yellow to white to an assortment of blotchy colors. O. rubescens is sometimes confused with the Giant Pacific Octopus, but the Red Octopus is much smaller and has three cirri below its eyes.
Rubescens is prey to some animals and preys on other mollusks, fish, and crustaceans. They have been found living in kelp beds, sandy mud bottoms, rocky areas, and under stones. This animal has been found to live in the ocean off of Alaska all the way down to Baja California, at a depth down to 200 m (about 656 feet). It is unknown as to how many Red Octopi are in the world, but a study taken in between 1991 and 1997 had shown that the number of Red Octopi in Monterey Bay had decreased over time. Some believe that an increasing amount of common seals (an occasional predator of octopi) could be contributing to this decrease.
As mentioned earlier, O. rubescens feeds on other mollusks, including sea snails and clams, along with some fishes. They also enjoy eating barnacles and crab. Even though O. rubescens preys on these animals, it is prey to others such as the California Sea Lions and the common seal. To avoid being eaten O. rubescens will the other two pump blood to thchange its color or hide in small holes.
The red octopus is a very cool animal; like other octopi they have three hearts – one that pumps blood throughout their entire body while eir gills. Although these animals have great eyesight, they mainly use touch and smell to find their prey. Their suckers are lined with millions of texture receptors and thousands of chemical receptors. And octopi are thought to be one of the smartest of all invertebrates, and some other vertebrates too.
Author: Conner C
Sources: "East Pacific Red Octopus." www.wikipedia.org. 27 Nov. 2007. 2 Feb. 2008 . Hulvey, Kristin B. "Investigation of Octopus Rubescens Population Dynamics: Population Fluctuations At 200 M Depth in Monterey Bay." Library.Stanford.Edu. June 1997. Stanford U. 4 Feb. 2008 . "Red Octopus." www.mbayaq.org. Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. 4 Feb. 2008 . Stefoff, Rebecca. Octopus. New York: Benchmark Books, 1997. Photo Credit: http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/pubs/invertebrates.htm