8 Largest Octopus Species in the World


Although there are about 300 known species of octopus in the world, they are considered some of the most mysterious animals. Very few octopus species have been well-documented, so it’s hard to know which ones are actually the largest. Additionally, octopuses dramatically range in size from a few grams to over a hundred pounds. For example, the smallest of the large octopuses on this list weighs less than 10 pounds while the largest specimen from the biggest known species (Giant Pacific Octopus) reportedly weighed 600 pounds! At the time of this writing, these are some of the largest known octopuses in the world by weight.

  1. Southern Red Octopus

[ Average Weight: 8.81 lbs
Average Length: about 3.28 ft
Average Lifespan: 3 – 5 years
Distribution: Patagonian Coast

Southern Red Octopus
Source: bioweb.uwlax.edu

The Southern Red Octopus or Patagonian Giant Octopus is another member of the Enteroctopus genus, which is often called the giant octopus group. However, the Southern Red Octopus is very small compared to the other members of Enteroctopus and only grows up to about 8.81 pounds (4 kilograms) – this is still "big” compared to many other octopus species.

The Southern Red Octopus is native to southeastern coast of South America, which is also known as the Patagonian Coast. This octopus is aptly named and is often a very vibrant red color.

Did You Know?

The lifespan of the Southern Red Octopus is dependent upon when an individual mates as they typically die not long after mating or laying eggs.

  1. Yellow Octopus

[ Average Weight: 11 lbs
Average Length: 4.6 ft
Average Lifespan: Unknown
Distribution: waters around New Zealand

Yellow Octopus
Source: Wikimedia Commons via Darren Stevens

Like some of the other members of the giant octopus genus (Enteroctopus) not much is known about the Yellow Octopus, which is native to the waters around New Zealand. According to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), only about 50 specimens of Yellow Octopus have ever been collected despite being large and abundant.

With so few samples, scientists have no idea how big the Yellow Octopus can actually grow. The largest Yellow Octopus specimen on record weighed about 11 pounds (5 kilograms) and was 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) in length. In recent years, there have been more efforts to conduct more research into the Yellow Octopus.

Did You Know?

Scientists believe that the sea lions around New Zealand eat about one million Yellow Octopuses each year.

  1. Common Octopus

[ Average Weight: 6.6 – 22 lbs
Average Length: 12 – 36 in
Average Lifespan: 1 – 2 years
Distribution: Globally in shallow waters of temperate areas

Common Octopus
Source: Wikimedia Commons via H. Zell

The Common Octopus, like its name suggests, is the best known and most studied species of octopus in the world. Despite being eaten by people around the world, the Common Octopus is quite abundant and can be found in waters across the globe.

The size of Common Octopuses varies wildly and they can be as small as 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms) or as large as 22 pounds (10 kilograms). While they can weigh quite a lot, Common Octopuses are not that large in terms of length – they only range between 12 – 36 inches (30.5 – 91 centimeters).

Did You Know?

The Common Octopus, like all known octopus species, has three hearts.

  1. Southern Giant Octopus

[ Average Weight: up to 25 lbs
Average Length: up to 6 ft
Average Lifespan: Estimated to be about 1 year
Distribution: Off the coast of Namibia and South Africa

Southern Giant Octopus
Source: sealifebase.ca

Very little is known about the Southern Giant Octopus, which is native to the waters around Namibia and South Africa. The Southern Giant Octopus is part of the Enteroctopus genus, which also includes other giant octopus species like the Giant Pacific Octopus.

Like the other members of its genus, the Southern Giant Octopus is relatively big compared to most other species of octopus (although it is significantly smaller than the Giant Pacific Octopus. The Southern Giant Octopus can weigh up to 25 pounds (11.4 kilograms) and grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length.

Did You Know?

Despite not being scientifically observed much, the Southern Giant Octopus is a common by-catch of the trap fishery of spiny lobsters in South Africa.

  1. Maori Octopus

[ Average Weight: 22 – 26.5 lbs
Average Length: 3.3 ft – 6 ft 7 in
Average Lifespan: Unspecified
Distribution: Waters around New Zealand and Southern Australia

Maori Octopus
Source: Wikimedia Commons via Sylke Rohrlach

The Maori Octopus is a medium-sized octopus that is native to the waters around New Zealand and southern Australia. Similar in size to the Southern Giant Octopus, the Maori Octopus weighs between 22 – 26.5 pounds (10 – 12 kilograms) and is between 3.3 feet – 6 feet 7 inches (1 – 2 meters) in length.

Maori Octopus are reddish to orange-brown in color and have white spots. Additionally, Maori Octopus are covered in skin patches that make them look spiky. Since Maori Octopus are quite common in their native waters, it is often found in the by-catch of lobster and longline fisheries. These Maori Octopus are sold as bait or eaten.

Did You Know?

Maori Octopus like to prey on rock lobster and is considered a hardy and aggressive species of octopus.

  1. Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus

[ Average Weight: Unspecified – 22 – 110 lbs
Average Length: Unspecified – 9.75 – 16 ft
Average Lifespan: 3 – 5 years
Distribution: Prince William Sound in Alaska, USA

Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus
Source: Sci-News

In late 2017/early 2018, it was reported that scientist had discovered a new species of Giant Pacific Octopus hiding in plain sight. The scientists have dubbed the new species the Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus, which they say is a sister-species to the more common Giant Pacific Octopus.

The Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus is both physically and genetically different from the common Giant Pacific Octopus is small ways. The most distinguishing characteristic of the Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus is its frill of merged papillae – raised fleshy bumps on its skin – running down the length of its body. The Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus also has two white spots on its head, while the common Giant Pacific Octopus only has one.

Did You Know?

Scientists have suspected that there was a separate species of Giant Pacific Octopus since at least 2012. They also believe that people have been unknowingly catching Frilled Giant Pacific Octopuses for years.

  1. Seven-Arm Octopus

[ Average Weight: 134.5 – 165 lbs
Average Length: 9.5 ft
Average Lifespan: Unknown
Distribution: Atlantic Ocean

Seven-Arm Octopus
Source: Wikimedia Commons via A.E Verrill (Addison Emery)

The Seven-Arm Octopus is a very mysterious creature, which may just be the largest octopus species in the world. Very little is known about the Seven-Arm Octopus because so few specimens have been captured. However, one incomplete Seven-Arm Octopus specimen was caught off the coast of New Zealand and it was massive.

Unfortunately, the Seven-Arm Octopus specimen was damaged and in its incomplete state it weighed about 134.5 pounds (61 kilograms). Scientists have estimated that the Seven-Arm Octopus from New Zealand may have weighed as much as 165 pounds (75 kilograms) when it was alive.

Did You Know?

As its name suggests, the males of the Seven-Arm Octopus species appear to only have seven arms because the eighth is small and hidden in sac behind its right eye.

  1. Giant Pacific Octopus

[ Average Weight: 22 – 110 lbs; largest specimen was 600 lbs
Average Length: 9.75 – 16 ft; largest specimen was 30 ft
Average Lifespan: 3 – 5 years
Distribution: Coastal North Pacific

Giant Pacific Octopus
Source: Flickr via Ratha Grimes

Since the Seven-Arm Octopus is relatively unknown, the Giant Pacific Octopus is widely considered to the be the world’s largest octopus species. On average, the Giant Pacific Octopus weighs between 22 – 100 pounds (10 – 50 kilograms). The Giant Pacific Octopus is also quite long, measuring in length from 9.75 feet ( 3 meters) up to 16 feet (4.9 meters).

According to National Geographic, the largest known Giant Pacific Octopus specimen weighed more than 600 pounds (272.15 kilograms) and was 30 feet (9 meters)! In addition to being the biggest, the Giant Pacific Octopus also lives longer than any other known octopus species (they only live between 3 – 5 years, which is considered long because most octopus die shortly after breeding).

Did You Know?

Pacific Giant Octopus are some of the most intelligent animals in the world and have the ability to solve puzzles, open jars, and even recognize its caretakers in captivity.


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