DANA POINT— If you’ve visited Ocean Institute recently, you may have noticed Octavius, a Giant Pacific Octopus perched over the institute’s front entrance, suspended above to welcome all to visit the exhibits of the hundreds of aquatic creatures living at the institute.
Octavius is the creation of Jeffrey Skarvan, a fine art photographer, painter, and sculptor. Samples of his work can be viewed at www.jeffreyskarvan.com.
“Octavius resides right over our main entrance, ready to welcome visitors with open arms…well, tentacles…as they step into our underwater world of wonder!” said Sara Vaughn, Ocean Institute’s manager of public programs and volunteers, in a press release. “Crafted by Dana Point’s very own Jeffrey Skarvan, Octavius is a stunning masterpiece crafted from fiberglass and reinforced recycled plastics. This extraordinary creation pays homage to our incredible ocean-dwelling neighbors, reminding us of the importance of being responsible stewards of our coastal environment,” said Vaughn.
Octavius is a whimsical work of art designed to delight the thousands of visitors who come to learn about the ocean and the creatures that live in it. He’s a real conversation starter; here are a few key characteristics.
- The octopus is one of the oldest animals in existence, having occupied the oceans for millions of years. They are highly intelligent and can learn to navigate mazes, open jars, and use tools.
- The Giant Pacific Octopus, the largest of the octopus species, can weigh more than 50 pounds. The heaviest on record weighed 200 pounds and measured nearly 20 feet across.
- This species can be found all around the Pacific, in shallow waters and depths of nearly 5,000 feet. It is a solitary animal that spends most of its life alone.
- It has eight arms covered with suction cups—2,240 in females and about 100 fewer in males. This accounts for their astounding strength and their perfect senses of taste and smell. In octopuses, male and female individuals can have differences in the number and arrangement of suction cups, primarily due to their distinct reproductive and evolutionary roles.
- The Giant Pacific Octopus has a lifespan of about three to five years. It will live a solitary life until the very end, seeking a mate, reproducing, and dying shortly after that.
The next time you’re at the Ocean Institute, snap a photo of Octavius and tag the Institute on Instagram. If you can spot something special about Octavius, you will win 10 percent off on of the institutes Whale and Marine Life Tours. The Ocean Institute, founded in 1977, has a mission to use the ocean as its classroom to inspire children to learn. Ocean Institute provides high-quality science education about marine life, conservation, and the habitats and species of the California Pacific Coast. Ocean Institute’s diverse program inventory includes STEM programs aligned with California’s content standards. Learn more at www.oceaninstitute.org.