New Giant Pacific Octopus At The National Zoo (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON -- There's a new giant Pacific octopus at the National Zoo. Sadly, only kids age 5 to 15 can enter The Washington Post's contest to name the new octopus (or else we might have some of our own suggestions).

The giant Pacific octopus is the largest octopus in the world -- it can grow up to 600 pounds; the zoo's new octopus is about the size of a grapefruit now. Giant Pacific octopuses -- the plural of octopus is octopuses, octopi or octopodes, as you like -- are quite intelligent, change color to blend in with their environments and usually live around four years. (Strangely, according to researchers, it's possible that giant Pacific octopuses could live longer if their optic glands were removed.) As the name suggests, the giant Pacific octopus is found in the Pacific -- in the northern part of the ocean, at depths of up to 2,500 feet.

The zoo had another giant Pacific octopus, acquired in 2010, named Octavius. She was about four years old when she died on Nov. 4.


RELATED VIDEO: Octavius joined the National Zoo in 2010, following the death of the zoo's previous giant Pacific octopus, Caroline, who died in 2009.

Flickr photo by Tamie DeWitt, Smithsonian's National Zoo, used under a Creative Commons license.