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Cephalopod Alert

At least two cephalopods were sighted today at Haystack. One creature seemed alive though not very active; another was almost certainly dead. I picked up the dead one and left the live one alone. (I may have also spotted a third octopus, but when the tide surged, cephalopods swirled in pools and disappeared faster than I could photograph them.)

Juvenile Octopus
Juvenile Octopus

I'm pretty sure these creatures are aliens from the film Mars Attacks. Maybe this is their ship:

Or maybe they are juvenile East Pacific red octopuses, Octopus rubescens, or juvenile giant Pacific octopuses, Enteroctopus dofleini.

The Seattle Aquarium succinctly explains the challenge of distinguishing the two species here.

I'm leaning toward giant Pacific octopus because I didn't see the telltale "eyelashes" (papillae) of the East Pacific red octopus below the eyes--though these animals were so tiny it was difficult to see details.

Regardless of their taxonomy, these creatures moved briefly through Haystack's tidepools like visitors from another world. Before these cephalopods were swept back to hidden depths by the surging tide, human visitors at the tidepools watched these wondrous beings watching them.

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