The largest species of octopus makes it home right here, in Washington’s aquatic environments. For World Octopus Day, we decided to celebrate the crawly, color-changing creatures that add to the diverse menagerie of life that relies on healthy aquatic lands.
Divers from around the world come here to catch glimpses of Giant Pacific octopuses in the shallow Puget Sound waters that allow them to be easily seen. Those looking to commune with our eight-legged undersea neighbors, can find them crawling on state-owned aquatic lands, particularly at seven sites set aside for viewing by our partners at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Prevalence of octopuses in Washington’s waters is one factor we have used while establishing our Aquatic Reserves.
The Giant Pacific octopus (Octopus dofleini) and the Little red octopus (Octopus rubescens) can be found at many of our seven aquatic reserves.
World Octopus Day also kicks off the five-day marine mollusk mania that is Cephalopod Awareness Days.
Dominant during the Ordovician geologic period of some 445 to 485 million years ago, this class of marine animals contains about 800 recognized species: our afore-mentioned friend, the octopus, along with squids, cuttlefish and nautiluses that call Washington’s waterways home.
As the steward of some 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands owned by the people of Washington, DNR comes across many of these creatures while making sure their habitat is healthy. Our Aquatic Resources division carries out restoration projects across the state, removing toxic debris, re-vegetating riparian zone restoring natural functions to nearshore areas.
As part of that, DNR is leading the effort to remove creosote-treated debris from Puget Sound. Once used widely as a wood preservative, creosote can leach into waterways and harm plants and wildlife like our cephalopod friends.
In 2014, DNR removed more than 1,250 creosote-treated wood pilings and more than 40 tons of debris from Washington’s waterways.
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