The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
Frequently Asked Questions
- "Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus" or "Pacific Northwestern Tree Octopus"?
"Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus" is the correct popular name for Octopus paxarbolis. "Pacific Northwestern Tree Octopus" is erroneous, much like using "Canadian Geese" instead of "Canada Geese".
- "Octopuses" or "octopi"?
Both "octopuses" and "octopi" are considered acceptable plural forms of "octopus". However, "octopi" has become accepted only because of its prevalent usage. It is technically incorrect. "Octopodes" may be technically correct, but is little used or accepted. See here for a more technical explanation, or watch this video:
(The original Merriam-Webster video I had here was taken down, for some reason. As was one from Oxford Dictionaries that I replaced it with. Is there a conspiracy afoot by Big Latin to cover up this information?)
To avoid the never-ending linguistic battles between the dogmatic prescriptivists and the chaotic-neutral descriptivists, we use the least controversial form of "octopuses" here (except for the site URL which plays off of "octopi").
- What is the tree octopus called in other languages?
- Chinese: 樹章魚 (traditional) or 树章鱼 (simplified) ("Shù Zhāng Yú")
- Chuukese: Nicharongorong 1
- Danish: Træblæksprutte
- Dutch: Boomoctopus
- Emojian: 🌲🐙 2
- Esperanto: Arbapolpo
- French: Pieuvre Arboricole or Poulpe d'Arbre
- German: Baumkrake
- Greek: Δενδροχταποδο ("Dhendhrohtapodo")
- Grunge Speak: Floppity Tree Friend 3
- Italian: Il Polipo dell'Albero
- Japanese: ツリー・オクトパス ("Tsurii Okutopasu") or 木のタコ ("Ki no Tako") 4
- Korean: 나무 낙지 ("Namu Nagji")
- Polish: Ośmiornica Drzewna
- Portugese: Polvo Arbóreo
- Russian: Древесный Осьминог ("Drevesnyĭ Osʹminog")
- Sasquatch: ĦAĀOŌʕ!AĀʕ!UŪʕ! 5
- Spanish: Pulpo Arborícola
- Swedish: Trädbläckfisk
- Turkish: Ağaç Ahtapotu
- Yeti: S̫z̫ś̫s͡ɸs̫|s̫z͡βź̫ 6
- This is used by the Chuuk of Micronesia to refer to a mangrove tree octopus. See Tree Octopuses of Micronesia for more information.
- This is a three-Unicode-character sequence that includes an invisible Zero Width Joiner (ZWJ) character between the Tree emoji and the Octopus emoji to combine them into a single Tree Octopus emoji. If you see two separate emoji, then your device or browser does not yet support tree octopuses. If this is the case, please contact your device or browser's vendor and demand that they add support for Tree Octopus ZWJ emoji sequences.
- Grunge Speak was a cryptolect of Cascadese spoken briefly between 1986-1994, a period coinciding with increased awareness of the plight of tree octopuses among the region's youth counter-culture. This term should not be used by lamestains or members of the tom-tom club.
- The katakana-transliterated English name is used exclusively for the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus whereas 木のタコ may be used for tree octopuses in general. 木登りタコ ("tree-climbing octopus") or similarly descriptive terms are also sometimes used.
- Sasquatch use subpharyngeal ultrafricatives (Ħ and ʕ!), which if done correctly would shred a human's larynx, however they will appreciate your attempt using human-range pharyngeal fricatives (ħ and ʕ).
- Don't try this one, as humans are apt to get the tonal whistling wrong and mistakenly say something very offensive in Migoi dialect.
- Aren't rainforests only found in the tropics?
Tropical rainforests are only found in the tropics, hence the qualifier before the name. However, rainforests in general can be found wherever there are both forests and sufficient rain. That is why they are called rainforests. The technical definition of a rainforest is a forest that normally gets no less than 1750-2000 mm (68-78 inches) of rain a year. In Cascadia, our rainforests are called temperate rainforests, since we are in the temperate region.
- Why are Sasquatch allowed to gather tree octopuses if the octopuses are endangered?
No one allows a Sasquatch to do anything; they just do it.
Sasquatch have been gathering tree octopuses since before Humans settled in their habitats. They form a symbiotic relationship. We value our limbs and don't question this.
- Can I have a pet tree octopus?
No. Tree octopuses are wild animals and would not live long in captivity, easily succumbing to sorrow. They yearn to swing freely, tentacle over tentacle, through the mossy branches of the temperate rainforest; self-reliant, no one their master; at one with their coniferous home.
Also, they're impossible to keep on a leash.
- What percentage of profit from tree octopus products sold on this site goes to support protecting the species?
Tree octopuses don't need your money. They need your love and willingness to write angry letters to the editor demanding action.
- Regardless, I would like to donate money to help the tree octopus. How can I do this?
If you must give money to ease your conscience, donations to help the tree octopus should be given directly to the tree octopuses. Here is how to donate: Travel to the Olympic Peninsula (if you are a minor, ask your parents first). Stand in the tree octopuses' forest near a tree and hold out a dollar bill. If you stand still enough, eventually a tree octopus will come by on a branch, reach out, and take the bill with her suckers. She will continue to return for more bills as long as you hold them out, so bring lots of singles. She will use them to line her den in the trees, as the bills will soak up rain water and keep her skin moist. Given the current value of the dollar, this is the most cost effective way to help.
Please note: don't give them coins. While they are attracted to shiny objects and will gladly take coins, the toxic metals in coins (especially copper) can easily absorb into their skin and poison them. Paper money, checks, stock certificates, coupons, etc. are preferable and make better nesting material.
- I am a student and my teachers are trying to convince me that tree octopuses are not real. Why are they doing this?
Your teachers have been misled by anti-tree-octopus propaganda from textbook publishers.
The book publishing industry consumes 30 million trees a year. Many of these trees come from logging activity on the Olympic Peninsula that is encroaching on tree octopus habitat. Efforts to protect this habitat and save the tree octopus are seen by some in the publishing industry as a threat to their profits, increasing the cost of wood pulp used to make paper. Consequently, publishers—especially those in the politically powerful textbook sector—have embarked on a disinformation campaign against the tree octopus.
Unlike the timber industry—which in previous centuries fomented fear of the then-plentiful tree octopuses to encourage mass cullings to stop their pulp products from being ink-stained by octopuses stuck in the millworks—book publishers are instead fomenting tree octopus denialism. Since 2002, over 40 textbooks and teachers' guides have been published that call into question the very existence of tree octopuses and instruct teachers to work this propaganda into classes unrelated to biology or ecology (where it will more likely be accepted uncritically).
Furthermore, publishers have tied this denialism to the meme that "the Internet is making kids dumb". (See for instance this press release from Pearson, one of the largest textbook publishers in the world, trumpeting the dangers of the Internet while including gratuitous tree octopus denialism). The industry's self-serving solution is that kids should get off the Internet and, of course, read books instead.
Book publishers hope that the youth of today will be the tree octopus denialists of the future, and that this generation's lack of concern will end the "tree octopus problem" for good. Please don't fall for their hoax.
- What can I do to stop the spread of tree octopus denialism by textbook publishers?
First, think critically and ask questions about what you are being taught:
Look for the Tree Octopus Safe logo on your textbooks.
- What does the topic of tree octopuses have to do with computers or library access and why isn't it being taught in a biology class instead?
- What are your teacher's credentials? Are they qualified to teach about cephalopods?
- Where did your teacher first learn about tree octopuses? Was it from a textbook printed on non-recycled paper made from old-growth trees?
- Why are so many teachers across the planet suddenly so insistent on getting students to think tree octopuses don't exist? If they didn't exist, why would this even be an issue?
Second, contact whatever agency is in charge of textbook procurement for your school, make them aware of the tree octopuses' plight, and ask that they only buy books from publishers that use tree-octopus-safe recycled paper. If there is enough of a demand for textbooks that aren't printed at the expense of tree octopus habitat, publishers will no longer have reason to lie about tree octopuses.
- What's so special about some octopus in a tree?
The Pacific Northwest tree octopus is an integral part of the Cascadian ecosystem and plays a significant role in the cultural heritage of both human and hominoid Cascadians: it keeps the jumping-slug population in check and provides a generational touchstone for Sasquatch during the octopus harvest; it has shaped the economics of forestry and inspired artists; it is a sentinel for the health of the Olympic forests and knows the ruminative secrets of coniferous oleoresins; and its future may either be squandered in the name of short-term greed or transcend the yoke of Earthly gravity as it explores the cosmos.
The tree octopus must be saved or all this is lost.
- What inspired you to create a website about tree octopuses?
I was inspired to create it when driving over the Puget Sound on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge into the forests on the Kitsap Peninsula, thinking about how the Narrows below are home to the largest known species of octopus (the giant Pacific octopus) and how they traverse it like a water bridge perpendicular to the man-made bridge I was on.
They and I live in the same space but in different worlds, crossing but not interacting, like the humans and dinosaurs in Escher's "Double Planetoid".
I wondered what it would be like if that wasn't so. What if our worlds were bridged? What if octopuses weren't strange aliens from a realm inaccessible to those without scuba gear, but part of our quotidian wildlife, living among the squirrels and owls in the forests into which I was driving?
And then I learned from the Sasquatch that tree octopuses exist, so I made a website about them.