Giant Mediterranean Octopus

Large Cephaopod of the Mediterranean Sea.

Variant names: Hydra, Scylla.

Physical description: Octopus with arms longer than 10 feet.

Distribution: Mediterranean Sea off France and Greece.

Significant sightings: A large octopus might have inspired the Greek myths of the six-necked, twelve-footed, cave-dwelling sea creature Scylla that attacked Odysseus's crew in the Strait of Messina, Italy, or the nine-headed, serpentine Hydra that Herakles killed in the marshes of Lerna south of Argos in the Peloponnesus, Greece.

An octopus with arms 13 feet long was reported in 1912 off Toulon, France.

Sometime in the 1950s, a diver encountered a huge octopus either in the Gulf of Corinth or off PiraiƩus in the Aegean Sea.

Possible explanation: The Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) has an average radial size of 1-2 feet, but outsize specimens with spans of 8-9 feet are known. Reports of sizes greater than this are sparse and vague.

Source: Ulrich Magin, "Danger under the Waves: The Giant Octopus of the Mediterranean," Pursuit, no. 71 (1985): 128-129.

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