Giant Pacific Octopus
vs. Red Octopus

It’s easy to tell the difference between an adult red octopus and an adult giant Pacific octopus. But when they’re young? Not so simple.

A mature red octopus weighs 1.5 pounds at the most and has an arm span of up to 20 inches. A mature giant Pacific octopus, on the other hand, might weigh up to 150 pounds (90 pounds is the average) with an arm span of up to 20 feet! Juveniles of both species, however, look remarkably similar. Fortunately, there’s a foolproof way to tell the two apart.


Eye of the giant Pacific octopus

Eye and lashes of the red octopus
The eyes have it
Eyes reveal which type of juvenile octopus you’re looking at: red or giant Pacific. Red octopuses have three tiny flaps, or “eyelashes,” below each eye; giant Pacific octopuses do not. The flaps are called papillae.
All in the family
Despite their difference in size at maturity, there are many similarities between red and giant Pacific octopuses. Both species are terminal spawners, which means both the male and female die after mating. And all octopuses have three hearts: one main, central heart and two others near the gills. Octopuses are also noted for being the smartest known invertebrates (animals without backbones). They are smart enough to solve puzzles, such as how to get food out of a sealed jar, and have demonstrated an incredible ability to learn complex tasks and improve their performance with repetition.
Learn more!
Visit our red octopus and giant Pacific octopus pages for more details on these fascinating, intelligent creatures.