Critter of the Week: Enteroctopus zealandicus – the elusive yellow octopus
The yellow octopus is large and clearly abundant, with about one million being eaten a year by sea lions in the Auckland Islands alone. However little is known about them. This is because the yellow octopus are elusive, clever creatures, able to evade attempts of collection by scientists and fishers.
The yellow octopus (Enteroctopus zealandicus) is strikingly large, about 1.4 metres total length, yellow to orange smooth-bodied octopus. It is closely related to the giant Pacific octopus (E. dofleini ), one of the world’s largest octopus species.
Where are they?
Endemic to New Zealand, yellow octopus are found on the East Coast of the South Island from the Chatham Rise (a submarine ridge between the South Island and the Chatham Islands) to the sub-Antarctic Auckland and Antipodes Islands. They mostly live in deep waters, 300 – 522 metres deep, with juveniles found in the intertidal zone.