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Red Octopus

Octopus rubescens

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The Red Octopuses are small, dull red or reddish brown invertebrates. They have eight sucker-lined arms and rough-looking. Like other octopuses, these animals can change their skin color and texture at will. When threatened, Red Octopuses can expel a reddish-brown ink in the water to disorient predators while they escape.

Like all octopuses, these animals are carnivores feeding on small crustaceans and fishes. They have parrot-like beaks which are used primarily for cracking crab shells. The octopus first kills the crab with secretions from its salivary glands and then opens it between the carapace and abdomen. Once the octopus consumes the inner parts of the crab’s body, it pulls off the legs and cleans them out one by one.

Mating for the octopus occurs in deep water in late winter and early spring. The males have a modified arm for passing sperm packets to females to fertilize eggs. After mating, females move inshore to spawning grounds. They lay clusters of eggs from late spring to early winter and care for the eggs for six to eight weeks. They die soon after the eggs hatch.

Range and Habitat

Red Octopuses are common from Alaska to Baja California. The animal shelters under rocks in the intertidal zone, kelp beds or on sandy sea floors up to 650 feet (200 m) in depth.

Conservation Status

Common.