Public chooses Oceanna as name for Feiro Marine Life Center’s new octopus
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Oceanna the giant Pacific octopus clings to the side of her tank at the Feiro Marine Life Center at Port Angeles City Pier. Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Chris McDaniel
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — The public has spoken. The new moniker for an octopus at the Feiro Marine Life Center is Oceanna.

The results were released Saturday.

Voters chose Oceanna over the competing names of Oly, Molly, Leptus and Aurora, said Melissa Williams, executive director of the center on City Pier.

Oceana can be viewed at the center — located at 315 N. Lincoln St. — from noon to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free until May 6, although donations are accepted.

Beginning May 7, the center will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with admission $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 3 to 17, and free for children age 2 and younger.

The name Oceanna was submitted for consideration by Feiro volunteer Jim Jewell.

Oceanna — a 3-pound, 2-year-old, female giant Pacific octopus — was caught at Freshwater Bay and will eventually be released back into the wild.

“We usually keep the octopus until it is between 40 and 45 pounds, which is a sign of their sexual maturity and their readiness to mate, and that is when we return them,” Williams said.

A female giant Pacific octopus doubles its body weight every 80 days or so.

Both male and female giant Pacific octopuses can reach about 16 feet across and live three to five years. They breed once, then die.

Feiro holds a special permit to capture and display octopuses in the education and research facility, which requires the center to return the creature to the place where it was caught so it can breed.

Giant Pacific octopuses are the largest species anywhere, with most adults weighing in between 22 and 110 pounds, with a 14- to 16-foot arm span.

“We had over 600 people cast a vote,” Williams said.

The contest opened last Monday and ended at 5 p.m. Friday.

“Percentage wise, Oceanna didn’t quite break 50 percent” of the total vote, Williams said.

“She walked away with a little [under] 300 votes.”

The second-place choice for a name was Leptus, Williams said.

The name would have commemorated the octopus’ arrival at the center on Feb. 29 — Leap Day.

“That was not very popular for a long time, and all of a sudden it jumped out of nowhere and I was thinking for a while that would be the one, but the Oceanna fans took it back in the end,” Williams said.

In the past, staff and volunteers have named the center’s octopuses, choosing names that began with the letter O.

This is the second time the public has had an opportunity to vote on the name.

Last year, the public chose the name Ursula. That octopus was released back into the wild earlier this year.

The contest has brought much appreciated attention to the center, Williams said.

“We were excited that so many people participated,” she said.

“We had over 600 guests this week come in to see her, ask of her and to learn more about octopuses.”

About 22,000 people visit the center each year, she said.

For more information about the center, go to feiromarinelifecenter.org.

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Reporter Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or cmcdaniel@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 10. 2016 6:55PM
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