Fun Maori Octopus Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Jan 31, 2024 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Amazing Maori octopus facts that will leave you wanting more.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

Macroctopus maorum is a marine octopus species found in Australia and New Zealand. The distribution range extends to New Zealand and Australia. It prefers to live in burrows and crevices by forming lairs (a type of shelter). Another scientific name of this marine animal is Pinnoctopus cordiformis. They can live and survive underwater up to depths of 1801.18 ft (549 m).

The body description of the Maori octopus includes dark purple-gray or orange-brown skin, white spots in their eyes, and large arms. Female octopuses lay about 70,000 eggs at once, usually in clusters. Males usually die after mating and the females die after hatching their eggs due to weakness. These marine octopuses mostly feed on crustaceans and fish.

To learn more about other species of octopuses, feel free to check out these mimic octopus facts and coconut octopus facts.

Maori Octopus Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Maori octopus?

The Maori octopus, or New Zealand octopus, is a type of octopus. It is one of the largest oceanic octopus species usually found in Australia.

What class of animal does a Maori octopus belong to?

The Maori octopus belongs to the class Cephalopoda and phylum Mollusca.

How many Maori Octopuses are there in the world?

The Maori octopus's population size has not been estimated yet.

Where does a Maori Octopus live?

The Maori octopus, also known as Pinnoctopus cordiformis, is endemic to New Zealand and Southern Australia. It prefers temperature and subarctic water in these regions. In New Zealand, octopus is usually found offshore, both in the North and South islands. It is also found around the waters of the New Zealand islands, such as Chatham, Campbell, and the Auckland Islands. However, in southeastern Tasmania, it is found in only one location which is a commercial fishery.

What is a Maori octopus' habitat?

The Maori octopus's habitat includes crevices and burrows where it forms lairs. These lairs can be recognized by the dispersed shells and crab pieces around the entrance. The distribution range extends from New Zealand to southern Australia. Bigger animals frequently sit within the entrance of the lair. Smaller animals are usually active at night, whereas bigger animals can be active both during the day and at night. They prefer soft-sediment and rubble habitats that have a depth of up to 1801.2 ft (549 m). It sometimes forages in nearby solid reed habitats but is less frequent in reefs and soft sand habitats. Interestingly, the octopus does not make permanent shelters, instead, it forms temporary homes in different locations. In Tasmania, they have been observed settling in intertidal rock pools and rocky reefs.

Who does the Maori octopus live with?

It is unknown if they live in groups or alone but mostly they are seen alone. Therefore, it is believed that they lead a solitary life.

How long does a Maori octopus live?

Although the life expectancy of all octopuses is about six years, the life expectancy of Maori octopuses is unknown

How do they reproduce?

The male Maori octopus dies after mating, just like other octopuses. Females mature and mate between March and October.

The female constructs the posterior mantle to discharge or lay their eggs. It generally stops eating food for about two weeks during the egg-laying period and continuously looks after the eggs until they hatch. The females lay around 70,000 eggs in clusters of 3-12, that are attached directly to the substratum. During the brooding period, the female usually stops feeding in order to produce less waste and to make sure the water quality is ideal for her eggs. After the eggs hatch, the female swims away and might die as she has been weakened from safeguarding the eggs. The babies are planktonic and possess seven to eight suckers in each arm. The young travel in ocean tides between Australia and New Zealand.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Maori octopuses is of Least Concern according to the IUCN.

Maori Octopus Fun Facts

What does the Maori octopus look like?

These species of octopus have a dark coloration with spikes on them.

The biological description of the Maori octopus is mostly the same as other octopus species. Adults can weigh up to 22 lb (10 kg), with a total length of around 11.8 in (30 cm). Macroctopus maorum is a large octopus species that have a high number of gill lamellae, arms of varying lengths, and a muscular conical copulatory organ. Their dorsal arms are long and unequal, generally four to six times longer than its mantle. Like other octopuses, it can also regrow its arms when lost. The arm span is about 9.8 ft (93 m). On the first and second arms, they have four to six suckers. On the entire length of the arms, there are two rows of the suckers whose size increases with the increase in the body mass. Macroctopus maorum is different from other species in their coloration, as they have dark purple-gray or orange-brown, with spikes on them. There are numerous small bright white spots on the web, arms, and crown, but absent on the mantle. The mantle possesses a skin pattern of longitudinal rims. Five rows of unbranched papillae are present along the dorsum extending out of the body and two extra papillae occur above their eyes.

How cute are they?

Octopus maorum do not appear very cute as they have a wild and scary look, along with their dark and spiny appearance.

How do they communicate?

There is no information available regarding the communication in Octopus marcom species. However, like other octopuses, they probably use the cups on their arms to sense their environment.

How big is a Maori octopus?

Their body length can reach up to 11.8 in (30 cm), which is similar to the vampire squid.

How fast can a Maori octopus swim?

The swimming speed of Macroctopus maorum is unknown.

How much does a Maori octopus weigh?

The average weight of an adult Maori octopus is 22 lb (10 kg), which is nine times smaller than the giant Pacific octopus.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names to describe the male and female Maori octopuses.

What would you call a baby Maori octopus?

A baby Maori octopus is generally known as young.

What do they eat?

According to a study, there is evidence of 12 different species of prey in the Maori octopus's stomach, crab being the most common one. However, the number of prey species is comparatively lower than other octopuses. It is believed that the octopus maorum diet in Tasmania is more diverse than the results shown in the study. The diet of M. maorum usually consists of fish and crustaceans. It feeds on a wide range of prey, such as lobster, scallops, and crab. Macroctopus maorum injects prey with a toxin that gradually liquefies flesh. Cannibalism is a common practice or behavior in many octopuses, but the Maori octopus is known to attack bigger octopuses, especially where different habitats overlap.

Are they dangerous?

They are dangerous to prey as they inject toxins that liquefy the bodies of their prey. They are consumed by humans as a delicacy. This species exercises a huge toll on lobster pot fisheries all through its range, omitting the empty lobster shells within the pots.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they can probably make a good pet like other octopuses, though they should be left where they are as they are wild animals.

Did you know...

M. maorum is preyed upon by marine seals, pilot whales, sea lions, different octopuses, and the northern royal albatross.  Yellow-eyed penguins, Fiordland crested penguins, and little blue penguins would possibly prey on M. maorum as well. The dumbo octopus is said to be the rarest octopus in the world.

Is the Maori octopus the largest octopus species?

M. maorum is one of the largest marine octopuses in the world but not the largest one. The giant Pacific octopus is the biggest among all the species.

What other names do Maori octopuses have?

Other names of Macroctopus maorum include New Zealand octopus and octopus Maorum. Another scientific name is Pinnoctopus cordiformis.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these octopus facts and blue-ringed octopus facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Maori Octopus coloring pages.

Maori Octopus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Fish and crustaceans

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

Up to 70,000 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

22 lb (10 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

crevices and burrows

Where Do They Live?

southern australia and new zealand

How Long Were They?

11.8 in (30 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Macroctopus maorum

What Do They Look Like?

Purple, gray, orange, brown

Skin Type

Bumps and spikes

What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat loss and water pollution

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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