Beldar - Callistoctopus aspilosomatis ?

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by DWhatley, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    2015 edit: Roy posted a photo of Calioctopus aspilosomatis that looks very much like the unknown Macropuses (aspilosomatis was originally placed in the Macropus complex macropus is now listed in the Callistoctopus genus) we have seen, including Beldar.


    Thales FedExed me one of the two macropus complex octos that were in his care. It shipped via TN this time and not Indiana and the weather was excellent so temperature of the new arrival was not an issue (thankfully). I am posting one acclimation photo with sizes PSed in but I am not likely to get many of any quality because of the tank shape, location and red light.

    Acclimation: She was pale and unresponsive and I was a little goosey even though the water was good and comfortably temperatured. When she was so lethargic, I realized I had failed to add my normal air stone and she picked up noticably with the additional gas exchange. The water parameters were close to my tank's and I don't like the extended acclimation process (the one I lost I took 3 hours with because of the temperature difference but it is the only one I have acclimated for that long and the only one I have lost in the first day - probably not releated to the acclimation but I am not comfortable with taking that long with an easily stressed animal).

    First Night: No sign of her she remained nameless and unseen. She had quite greacefully slipped into the LR after release and no amount of pleading would bring her forth. I stuck a piece of shrimp on a stick and embedded it in the sand in hopes her curiosity would get the best of her or she would want the hermit that climbed the stick and was having a feast. I think I saw every pod, snail and shrimp in the tank but only LR octo eyes.

    Second Night: No sightings (I did break down an use a flashlight, as did Neal). I added a very dim nightlight to the back side of the tank in hopes of discouraging night time denning there (it is very dim and may or may not go out during the day because of the sensor). I checked every couple of hours from a distance of about 30 feet and Neal checked early in the AM but still nothing. I put a fiddler crab in that could not be located (they live for weeks in that tank if not eaten). At least the pepermint shrimp, thorny star and hermit crab had not all congregated anywhere other than on the piece of shrimp I had in there yesterday (thorny added today).

    Third Day: About 7:00 AM she was out on the sand. Neal had gone over to check on her, not expecting to see anything and by the time I got there she had retreated to a cave but stayed where we could still see her for a few minutes. She looked a lot like a frog but Neal's suggestion of "Kermit" is out. We kind of want something to do with Valentines day (being Friday the 13th, Jason was out too and no massacre tie-ins) but nothing fits (Cupid is has an interesting story but we both don't like the name ).

    Fourth Day: Sent this note to Thales on her behavior:
    Saw her out this AM for about 2 hours. She spent the first hour eating a hermit (large) and I have not seen the two fiddlers that were put in the tank so now I am concerned about how much to feed her/him. When finished, there was a wild wierd dance (I think it takes them time to adjust to climbing on acrylic - saw similar problems with Octane and somewhat less with OhToo) and an awful tucked in crouch with cork screwed arms at the top of the tank on my observation side.

    TERROR :goofysca:

    I moved to the opposite side of the tank and THEN things got normal! I saw the most incredible display of mimicing I have ever seen. She/he moved to about mid tank with arms and body set in a straight line, maybe 1+ foot across the tank wall. The mantle was extentened at least twice resting length and she looked like a huge walking stick. There is some current at this position and you would have no clue what you were actually seeing - no pics - maybe after she adjusts

    She did come over to check me out once but then went back to the original side and danced about. Trying to get a good look at the arms was maddening as they don't stay still (no more cork screw though! I have learned that that is a definite stress sign).

    I noticed one arm shorter than the others. It is not curled like a hectocotylus is usually kept and is the third left arm. From reading, I know this can sometimes be a reproduction arm but not sure if it is by species or individual. This may be a regenerated arm but the tip looked distinctive, I think

    I am in love!

    Fifth Day: (today) We still have not seen her out at night, only in the early AM. Today I was afraid I had missed her because I went to bed at a more normal time (I have been staying up so that I have seen her on the late night side of morning :shock:) and did not get up until about 8:15ish (Bailey wanted out or I would have missed her). She was dancing around on glass (acrylic) and continued her dance for about 5 minutes before retiring. I put two more hermits in last night but I don't think she ate them. I will put in another fiddler (the two other offerings have stayed vanished) tonight as well.

    Unfortunately, these may be the only pictures I get of her so I am including a link to a couple of photos a diver posted on another forum
     

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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  2. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    Very interesting and informational.8-)
     
  3. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Hope you can eventually capture the "walking stick" observation you made on camera.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Me too! It was really quite cool and very different from anything I have seen in the mercs or hummelincki (or even the films on the mimic). This little conehead could be very interesting if I can learn to be a morning person :coffee:
     
  5. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Congratulations! She sounds beautiful! Don't stress too much about eating, when I cleaned out Artemis' dens yesterday I found more empty shells than I thought I'd ever fed him.
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I got up in time to see Bel this AM and put a crab in her tank. She hid in the LR when I climbed the stool to her tank but reappeared with her two eyes poking up behind a shell (in an entirely different location) for awhile. She saw me watching her but did not leave or come out for 5 min or so then disappeared. I left and when I came back I could not find the fiddler or the octo so I am not sure if she spotted it before retiring for the day. She certainly is making my mornings early (for me) :coffee::smoke:
     
  7. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    How early is she active? You are making me want an octopus... Don't think I could handle the octo-proofing, though.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Since she decided to show herself, we have now seen Bel every morning between 7:00 and 8:30 (right at dawn even though we have the verticle curtains closed). I have checked often at night and have never seen her out.

    Octoproofing is really not that bad if you have a sump since nothing but a few cords have to go through the top (weren't you getting a new tank anyway?:sagrin:). If the tank does not have an edge, you can easily add an inside rim with a few sticks of acrylic and silicone and then cut an acrylic top to rest on the inside edging (a little tricky if the tank is not square but if the edging is wide enough, close is good enough, a center support bar will need to be added as well but it is no more difficult). An acrylic hinge is recommended but simple to install with silicone or acrylic cement. Tap Plastics has everything you would need if you don't have it locally and I can give you more details on our various setups if you get serious. We drilled holes in our acrylic tops (THAT was a pain but a piece of peg board as a template keeps it neat) for heat escape. Lowering the water level (not mandatory but recommended) can be problematic with an overflow but the grooves can be cut down if you don't mind a permenant adjustment. The whole top process might take a day or a weekend depending on the kids activity :twisted:
     
  9. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Not that hard at all- I didn't even need the live in engineer for that!

    Beldar- all I can see in my mind is Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain- "We must consume mass quantities of 'pods!"
     
  10. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Glad its doing well!

    The one I have is active in the evenings as well. I fed it a thawed frozen crap and it snagged it out of the water column. Amazingly quick animals.

    :D
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Bel has been a real comfort because of my sadness with OhToo. She still won't show up except during unreasonable AM hours but being out of work has some choice of bedtime advantages :roll:. We are seeing her between 5:00 and 7:30 every morning (well, I slept past her wake time one day). If she is not out during that time, I can sit on the couch for about 5 minutes and she will show up and dance with my fingers (on the outside of the tank) for a long time. Once the room is well lit from the morning sun, she disappears. I see a lot of skunk stripes and all kinds of unusual configurations from her but still won't risk the camera.

    She has inked once. One morning I left my couch post to get more coffee at just about her normal exit lighting and she zipped away at my approach. I did not see the ink until I was right in front of the tank.

    Richard, you mentioned yours will come out in the evening. About what time? I have tried sitting at the tank at various times but she does not show and it occured to me maybe I need to be earlier.
     
  12. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    He was coming out around 6, which is when I usually get home and feed. I plumbed a 60 gal into the system for him yesterday and he was out all day.
     
  13. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    He's out randomly. I didn't try to recreate its nocturnal lifestyle and instead tried to make it adapt to captivity - smart animals and all that. I also kept him in a cube for about a month till he acclimated to me being to food giver. The 60 its in has only a small area of rock, and the occy ignores it and hangs in a corner near the overflow. Tonight I fed him a silverside and he swam right over and took it gently from the tweezers and then proceeded to enthusiastically tuck in. I am enjoying such an interactive occy.
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I am trying to establish a food spot with Bel but not doing very well with my experiements. Twice I have put a crab in a container, front and center the second time WITH a DIY loose lid but both times the crab has escaped (the container, not the octo). This AM she came out while the crab was still in the glass (triple shot glass - the kind that has a wide bottom, a skinny neck and a wide upper section to separate two different types of alcohol) and was out front as it pushed aside the make-shift lid but ignored it completely. After I thought she had retired, fatally the crab made its way to the back of the tank and I noticed arms from the LR, a creeping critter hugging the rocks, slow investigative arms and a very quick grab and enfold (Thales mentioned they could be very fast). I don't know if she could not see the crab when it was in/on the container or was too busy watching me to notice but I will try another stopper tonight (which may be difficult for her to open and she may not be overly hungry and there are other edibles in the tank ...) to see what happens.

    I am also adding some daylight to the tank during the afternoon by opening the curtains a bit and turning on the LED's we have above the aquarium. Since both Thales and Forever27 see theirs during the day (around sundown) it occurred to me that a change from daylight to evening might encourage Beldar to make an evening appearance.

    Interesting that Thales' (please give it a name!) ignores the LR as Bel is inside the multiple caves (I have no clue where she dens but I am thinking underground) except during her two hour morning forays. She is very well acquainted with the rock structure and appears from (and disappears into) multiple openings.

    The sand in the tank is quite course and I am considering getting a small bag of the hated sugar sand as she is constantly digging her fingers into the first inch or so of the bottom substrate. There is one spot where something mysterious in the tank lives and chews up either the sand or the LR and creates a pile of very fine sand. She likes to hunt and disappear into this spot so a pile in the front may be in order to attract her attention.
     
  15. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    D,
    Artemis kept several underground dens, I was never super sure where he was, but he liked to pop in and out of LR just as you describe. He would also "dig his fingers" in the sand, too. Try that with the lighting, I never did that and maybe that's why I never saw him in the evening. That's an interesting idea about possibly not seeing the food in the containers...
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Strangely enough, I removed the night light from the back of the tank last night and at 6:00 AM (late night side - still) she was out on the front glass. After eating her crab she chose a FRONT den and started digging in so I am more confident with the thought that she is making underground daytime places. What is interesting is that she chose to make a den on the most lighted side. Time will tell if this is just her acclimating to the tank or if lighting has some impact but it is the first time she did not go to the back of the tank at bed time. I am getting the impression that this species may be very near sighted.
     
  17. forever27

    forever27 GPO Registered

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    Keep trying with the cups. I used a clear solo cup with some sand at the bottom of it. The fiddler can't climb up the sides and Lennon could see it well. I don't really use them as much anymore now that I know his dens, but it was a good way to find them. I moved them around the tank to see if he could see them or not.

    Also, Lennon doesn't so much dig with his fingers like Bel or Artemis, however he does find dens under the live rock. His main den (he has 2 or 3) is also on the lighter part of the tank. I think that could be just a coincidence thought, because I purposely put the best "cave" for him over there to try to encourage him to come out in daylight.

    Interesting point about the species being nearsighted! It would be cool to try and experiment with that somehow.
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If I remember correctly (without looking) Artemis took his food to his den. Does Lennon? Bel eats where she catches and fully concentrates on the food until it is gone. Sometimes she looks uncomfortable with me watching but she does not abandon the food and she does not take it to a den.

    Forever27, what kind of bottom substrate is in Lennon's tank?
     
  19. forever27

    forever27 GPO Registered

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    Lennon does take food to his den. And I've got a fine sand substrate.
    Also, to get Lennon out lately, I've been stick feeding him with the lights on (5-7 PM) and gradually moving the food away from his den. At first the food was practically in his den, now I'll put it real close then move it away from him and make him "hunt" it down. I think it's helping to get him out during the day.
     
  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    So far Beldar is making the appearance calls and I have no clue where he dens. We built out this tank three years ago in anticipation of our first octopus (after a LOT of reading) and it seems to be a good design for an octo, just not for human interaction :hmm: Lots of LR with uncountable dens of varying sizes, accomodating most any lighting comfort. Unfortunately, it is in a low traffic area so we have to make an effort to be seen. My most interative octos have live in the eating area, something I would highly recommend for tank placement since humans are often present, are seated and can be observed without in-your-face confrontations.

    I think Beldar is male and possibly just becoming sexually mature. If we just knew what that meant about his age, it would be helpful info :rolleyes:. This morning he was up at 5:00 AM and came to the front of the tank when I visited. If I get to the tank between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM I am usually treated with a visitation but still no luck at all during the evenings. Perhaps they only make one foraging trip in a day and it is either AM or PM. If so, getting him to switch needs thought. In any case, you have to observe one of these little guys to fully understand that trying to watch and count arms is very difficult and will cross your eyes when you try. Not only are the arms constantly in motion when they are on the glass but the arms are different in length and thickness and give a visual spaghetti. This AM I noticed one arm was curled very tightly and tried to follow it to be sure it was not severed. After a lot of concentration, I confirmed the location (third arm clockwise). He kept it this way for 15 minutes or so and one other partially curled but before retiring all arms were relaxed. He has not held an arm like this under observation before and the curl was very exagerated.

    The arms on this species, as Sedna has commented, are very unusual. It appears there is evolutionary suggestion of becoming a 4 armed creature with the back 4 arms being used only marginally and are very frail looking compared to the front four.

    I am really hoping we can switch his active times because he is such an unusual creature. He looks like something out of a comic book and has antics to match.
     

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