http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pRfzOOZAjk There are two parts to the video... first the octopus swims, and then he changes color. We're not sure, but we think this is a little red octopus. And that's not meant to be sarcastic. There are two species of octopus common in Puget Sound, the North Pacific Giant Octopus and the East Pacific Red Octopus. One way to tell them apart is to look for three eyelash-like papilla below the eyes, which are present in the little red but not in the giant. Unfortunately this octopus wasn't cooperative enough to let us look for eyelashes. But another arrow in our identification quiver is the fact that we hauled it up over the shallow tideflats, and red octopi are shallow-water creatures. Red octopi enjoy a diet of gastropods, bivalves, crabs, and barnacles. Humans occasionally enjoy a diet of octopi. Here's one of our crab suppliers, Ron, holding a tentacle from a giant octopus he pulled up from the depths on a crab pot.
We assume that Ron is holding the tentacle of a Giant Octopus. Here's the beak of Ron's octopus: Interesting fact about octopi: 1. They have 3 hearts. Two pump blood through the gills, the third pumps blood through the body. 2. The beak is the only hard part in an octopus' body. 3. They have short life expectancies. (Although the giant Pacific may live for 5 years). They're also highly intelligent. Hopefully they're not overly burdened by a sense of their own mortality. Here's one more photo of the little red. If you look very closely you can see that he's giving us the evil eye:
You'll all be happy to know that shortly after this harassing photo shoot the little red guy escaped through a drain pipe, back to his salt watery home. Grammatical note: according to wikipedia, there are three correct plural forms of octopus: octopi, octopuses, and octopodes. The form we used, octopi, is "often objectionable."