Bristol Aquarium has been overwhelmed by the response to a competition to name their giant Pacific octopus.
Amazingly they received more than 2,000 entries with suggestions coming in from across the country for the clever cephalopod.
In the end they managed to whittle it down to a final five with the overall winner being picked at random by the aquarium giant costume character Charlie the Clownfish.
Bristol Aquarium’s Tina Patel said: “To be honest we weren’t expecting quite such a high level of interest and we were a little bit overwhelmed when we discovered how many people had entered.
“It took a huge amount of sorting to get to the final five and we then had some fairly lively discussions before we were eventually able to choose the winning name.
“We’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who made the effort to enter,” she added.
The aquarium had asked people to take into account the octopus’ behaviour and characteristics when they made their suggestions and the winning suggestion was ‘Merlin’ which was sent in by Maisie Walker, from Gillingham in Kent.
In addition to having the honour of naming the new octopus, Maisie has also won a year’s family membership to the aquarium.
Giant Pacific octopus are the world’s largest species of octopus and are found from Japan to Southern California. The biggest recorded specimen had an arm span of 10 metres (33ft) and weighed 270kgs (600lbs).
As well as being the largest, the giant Pacific is also among the cleverest members of the cephalopod family.
Despite their intelligence giant Pacific octopus are relatively short lived – going from the size of a rice grain at birth to being fully grown within the space of two years.
Issued on behalf of Bristol Aquarium. For more information please contact David Waines or Tina Patel on 0117 934 0944 or Dan de Castro on 0117 934 0943 .