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Guests to Name Giant Pacific Octopus at Shedd Aquarium

During last week of June, the public can vote for the cephalopod’s name following new 4-D Experience

June 25, 2021

A giant Pacific octopus with eight arms covered in round, grasping suckers spread out to feel its habitat.

Shedd Aquarium has a new resident in its Oceans exhibit, a giant Pacific octopus, which is the largest octopus species in the aquatic world, known for its intelligence and mastery in camouflage. Not only can guests come face-to-face with this big-brained, eight-armed octopus during a visit to the aquarium, but for one week only, guests will also have an exclusive opportunity to vote on a name for the cephalopod.

During the last week of June, guests attending Octopus: Blue Planet II 4D Experience®, a brand-new immersive experience at Shedd for people to learn more about these unbelievable animals, can also cast their vote on the name for the giant Pacific octopus at the aquarium.

Voting will take place from Monday, June 28 – Sunday, July 4. Guest can attend Octopus: Blue Planet II 4D Experience® by purchasing an add-on to their ticket, a $4.95 upgrade per guest ($2.95 for members). There are several showings throughout the day, and guests may pick their time at the aquarium.

Shedd Aquarium’s animal care staff provided names for the public to choose from. This naming opportunity creates a deeper connection with guests to marine science and explain why octopuses and aquatic life, in general, are important to our world and way of life. The names for consideration are:

  • Anderson: For Dr. Roland Anderson, one of the leading cephalopod researchers in the public aquarium field: he worked at Seattle Aquarium and passed away in 2014.
  • Attenborough: For Sir David Attenborough, whose narrations about nature have reached many millions of people and provided a voice to the natural world.
  • Dofleini (DOF-lee-knee): Scientific name of the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). Scientific names are important because they are universally recognized and allow all people to identify animals clearly, when an animal may have several common names that differ based on region, culture, and language. These names also organize animals into groups based on their similarities and differences.
  • Knapp: For Dr. Chuck Knapp, the vice president of conservation research at Shedd, who has been at the aquarium for 30 years.
  • Sawyer: For Ernie Sawyer, Shedd’s senior aquarist who retired last year and was dedicated to the care and welfare of animals in the Oceans exhibit for many years.

In Shedd’s 4-D Experiences, powered by ComEd, guests are fully immersed with a multisensory experience where on-screen action is brought to life. During Octopus: Blue Planet II 4D Experience®, discover an octopus’ exciting life beneath the waves, as it outwits pyjama sharks and sally lightfoot crabs, displaying the ingenuity of this creature in its dynamic underwater environment.

BACKGROUND: The octopus is truly giant–with arms spanning on average around 14-feet-long.Each arm has 280 suckers of various sizes that connects to its central nervous system and allows the octopus to taste and smell, in addition to being able to feel, grasp, release, rotate in its environment with its eight limbs.

At Shedd, octopus are offered a variety of activities for enrichment, including an assortment of toys and treats sometimes tucked into screw-top jars for the animal to open as a means of engaging their natural survival and hunting skills. Enrichment at Shedd, an important part of the animal care program, includes a variety of ways to provide animals with additional mental or physical activity to encourage natural behaviors.

VISUALS: High-resolution visuals of a giant Pacific octopus at Shedd are available for download:
Credit: Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez