New England Aquarium Mourns Loss of Giant Pacific Octopus
The New England Aquarium in Boston announced on its Facebook page that one of the beloved residents passed away on Saturday, August 14. Tatoosh, the three-year-old giant Pacific octopus, will be greatly missed by Aquarium members, guests, and staff alike.
“He was named for Tatoosh Island, the largest island in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary,” New England Aquarium wrote. “The Sanctuary is part of the Makah Reservation, where the cultural practices of the Makah, one four indigenous communities of that region, have fostered healthy ecosystems for millennia.”
Tatoosh was an ambassador for his species, inspiring awe and helping to educate Aquarium guests from his home in the Olympic Coast gallery.
“He also helped Aquarium staff further their knowledge of the needs and behavior of this remarkable species,” the Aquarium wrote. “Many of our guests are surprised to learn that these intelligent animals only live for three to five years on average, and pass quickly after entering a phase of their life cycle called ‘senescence.”
Tatoosh arrived at the New England Aquarium in August of 2020. He spent a month in a behind-the-scenes tank of his own getting to know the aquarists and veterinary staff. He was estimated to weigh about eight pounds and was around two years old at the time of his arrival.
"The giant Pacific octopus is the largest of the world’s 250 species of octopus," The New England Aquarium said. "They are highly intelligent, can change color, and have excellent eyesight. Using their eight arms, they can move more than 700 pounds. They live in the North Pacific Ocean from Northern Japan to California in rocky areas, caves, and kelp forests in depths of more than 500 feet. Their conservation status is stable in the wild."
For a short time, the Olympic coast gallery will not have an octopus.