An image of the octopus taken by Lorraine. Image Credit: @bungiehelicopters/Great Barrier Reef Legacy

A giant octopus has been spotted in the Great Barrier Reef

  • BY AG Staff |
  • November 14, 2017

The octopus was sighted by Great Barrier Reef helicopter tourism operators in the far-north Great Detached Reef.

ACCORDING TO an Instagram post by the Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBRL) a giant octopus has been spotted by helicopter operators Lorraine and Bungie in the far-northern parts of the reef, within the Great Detached Reef.

"This huge octopus was seen at the surface being circled by several large whaler sharks before it descended back into the deep," the Instagram post says.

The sighting was made almost two months ago but the GBRL were waiting for confirmation of the species of the octopus. 

The octopus has now been identified as a blanket octopus or a tremoctopus by Julian Finn, the Senior Curator of Marine Invertebrates at Museum Victoria. He also estimated that this particular octopus was about 1.4m long.

Dean Miller, the director of science and media for the GBRL told Australian Geographic that it was extremely rare to see this species of octopus in the northern parts of the GBR. He added that most sightings of these octopus were made in Tasmanian waters. 

The discovery was made right on the edge of the water shelf of the northern part of the Reef, where the water is deep enough for this species to thrive. Tomorrow, Dean and his team will be embarking on a 21-day expedition to explore this part of the reef. 

"We'll certainly be keeping our eyes open - just goes to show how little we still know about the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and all its wonders!"

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