Thursday, May 10, 2012, second entry – Towards the end of our trip to South Cove (Cape Arago), two of Florida Tech’s Biological Oceanography students shouted out, “we’ve got a Giant Pacific Octopus!” (Octopus dofleini).
They wrestled the 8-armed kraken into a bucket and we returned it to the lab, where it became our mascot and totem for the trip.
We built it a special containment facility (they are smart and strong!) out of a robust Rubbermaid container, The new Oregon Marine Life Center being built at OIMB has requested it for their octopus display, which is currently being built. Once Florida Tech’s Biological Oceanography students have finished with it, we will leave it in their care until the new display is finished.
In the meantime, it resides in our teaching laboratory and the Florida Tech students are enjoying showing it off to the students and staff at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. Although the Oregon folks live on this coast year round, they do not frequently get to see such a large octopus alive and thriving in a sea table in the lab. Even the dining hall staff made special arrangements with us to bring their families to the lab and watch it feed. The Florida Tech Biological Oceanography students tried first to feed it a large Dungeness crab, but it was a little too much for our star lab resident. Instead, the fed it mid-sized red-rock crabs (Cancer productus) and the octopus handled them with obvious ease. The students have named the octopus “He’ e,” which is Hawaiian for “octopus.”