Gigantic Pacific Octopus

A huge CePHAOPOD of the Pacific Ocean.

Variant name: GiobsTER

Physical description: Grayish-brown. Arms, 8-75 feet long.

Distribution: Hawaiian Islands; the Philippines.

Significant sightings: In 1928, when stationed at Pearl Harbor, Robert Todd Aiken discovered a group of six large octopuses, 40 feet from tip to tip, off the shore of Oahu. In July 1936, he brought film director Robert Hale to the spot to film a documentary. Whether it was ever filmed or not is unknown.

206 gigantic pacific octopus

In 1950, Madison Rigdon saw an octopus the size of a car surrounded by sharks off Lahilahi Point, near Makaha, Oahu, Hawaii. It defended itself with a 30-foot tentacle that had suckers the size of dinner plates.

Also in 1950, off the Kona Coast, Hawaii, fisherman Val Ako saw a monster octopus, with tentacles 75 feet long and suckers as big as auto tires, resting underwater on a reef. His kupuna (family adviser) told him later that the octopus came to the island every year for a month with a female.

On December 24, 1989, a group of fourteen people on an 18-foot motorized canoe in Iligan Bay in the Philippines watched as a huge octopus with 8-foot tentacles seized the boat and started rocking it. After ten minutes, the boat capsized. The passengers were either saved by fishermen or swam to shore.

Possible explanation: A gigantic Pacific variety of octopus. The largest known octopus is the Giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), which can exceed a radial spread of 20 feet and a weight of 100 pounds. One individual captured near Victoria, British Columbia, in 1967 weighed 156 pounds and was almost 23 feet from arm tip to arm tip. There are unofficial records of a few individuals greater than 300 pounds and one that was more than 400 pounds. This creature ranges from the coast of southern California north to Alaska and into Asia south to Japan. A smaller relative, E. mega-locyathus, is found in the eastern South Pacific and South Atlantic in Chilean and Argentinan waters.

Sources: "Terrors from the Deep," Fortean Times, no. 56 (Winter 1990): 14; Nick Sucik, "Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Snorkeling: Hawaii's Giant Octopuses," North American BioFortean Review 2, no. 3 (December 2000): 11-17, http://www.

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