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Food Iidako

Iidako is a small octopus. Chuka iidako (ちゅかいいだこ) is a popular snack. It is a seasoned baby octopus – often with a red colour. Iidako is sometimes boiled, served with shoyu (soy sauce), and occasionally with its ink.


This octopus is distributed in shallow East Asian waters, from the Japanese coast south of southern Hokkaido to the southern Korean Peninsula, the Yellow Sea and the coastal areas of China. The species known in Okinawa as 'shigaya' (シガヤー) resembles the iidako, but is the udenagakuredako (ウデナガカクレダコ).

It inhabits sandy, muddy bottoms dotted with reefs and boulders from the surf to a depth of about 10 metres. In contrast to the pelagic octopus, it is more common in inner bays where the waves are calmer, and its habitat overlaps with that of the Octopus minor on the Japanese mainland. During the day, they hide in crevices between stones and eelgrass beds, but they also use large bivalve shells, discarded cans, and empty bottles as hiding places. They move across the seabed at night for food, preying on various benthic organisms (benthos), including shore-based crustaceans, polychaetes and shellfish. Natural enemies include humans and sizeable predatory fish such as larvae and eels.

The spawning season is from winter to spring when translucent eggs about 4 millimetres long are laid between stones or shells. These eggs are larger than those of the Pacific octopus but just the size of a grain of rice. After spawning, the female stays close to the eggs to protect them, and most females die when the eggs hatch.

Kanji: 飯蛸/望潮魚
Kana: イイダコ
Romaji: Iidako

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