Beldar - Callistoctopus aspilosomatis ?

DWhatley

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Octopus Slime/Saliva

I have mentioned that when Beldar eats he captures the stick and I place it in a floating straw. Tonight he stayed slowly eating his shrimp on a stick with two of his long arms stretched the full length of the stick for about an hour (his normal amount of time to eat supper). When he left the stick he had only eaten about half the shrimp (it was a bigger piece than I have been offering) and I noticed a trail of slim on the remaining food AND all along the stick where his arms had been holding it. If you enlarge the photo and start at the lower end of the stick you can just make out the small bubbles trapped in the slime. I retrieved the remaining shrimp and could feel the slime coating it (but it did not stick to my fingers). There was a detached piece that was not coated and felt like normal raw shrimp.

Norman describes some octos as slime specialists and shows a photo of slime producing glands that are thought to be used for holding sand in place but he notes the actual purpose is not known. I have noticed the slimy feeling to an occassional piece of uneaten shrimp (with the hummelincki as well) but this is the first time I have actually seen that it is something more than masticated shrimp. The slime trail was along the entire stick, not just at the end where the shrimp was being eaten. Does anyone know if octos produce something like saliva? Any clue as to why it would be along the entire stick and not just at the mouth area?

I also noticed that my thorny star in this tank was missing an arm and had lumps on the remaining arms that looked like new arm growth sticking out of existing arms. I have thornys in all the octo tanks and have never lost one or ever seen damage/disfigurement (this thorny has been placed in another aquarium). I am wondering if the slime affected the star since it scavages remains. I don't think the missing arm was a confrontation with the octopus but something has badly effected the this star who has been part of my clean up crew for 2-3 years ( I am not sure which one it is as I removed the one in this tank while there was no octopus due to lack of food and retuned one to the tank Beldar came. It may or may not be the same one that started in the tank with Trapper.
 

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DWhatley

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The last two (maybe three) nights, Beldar has wanted to play before eating rather than the normal reverse. Tonight I put a feeding stick in the feeding corner and my hand in the play corner to see which she would choose (hoping she did not choose to feed in the play corner :hmm:). She kept coming to the play corner but only for a brief encounter but would not approach her food. I floated the stick using her straws (that now stay in the tank full time) and sat on the couch (in the dark) but she had no interest in eating. I moved to drink some coffee and she made a mad dash around the tank inking several times. I have accidently scared her before and I think she cannot see the couch well but I know she can detect movement 30 feet away if the kitchen light is on, backlighting that approach. She made a brief stop near her feeding stick and then all but hopped over to the play corner and balled up in a frightened tangle. It seems odd she would choose the play corner and not go to her den. I tried petting her to calm her down but she did not respond much to the attempt. I gave her the shrimp stick and she took it so I tried a gentle tug-of-war but she remained balled up and eventually released the stick (without moving her arm up the stick in a more normal feeding). She did keep the shrimp and I left her with her meal.
 

sedna

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I hate it when they do something so out of the ordinary, then you worry until you see them act "normal" again!
 

Thales

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Hey guys,

Mine is doing well. Done the 'stick' thing a couple time and I have a camera set up to try to catch it. I am pretty sure it can open a small plastic jar to get food. I have put the jar in the tank several times and the occy goes right for it. I haven't actually seen it get opened, but later in the day, the lid is always off. The occy is also out a lot in the afternoon. It still seems uninterested in denning in rock.
 

DWhatley

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I have not tried a jar with Bel because she never went after the crab in a open bottle :roll: but I did notice that the clam that has been in there since she arrived has been opened and cleaned out. Strange that Thale's version wants nothing to do with the LR as Bel continues to den in and explore it nightly.

Bel had been very pissy for three days and would grab at my hand when I fed her as well as after dinner. She had not wanted to play but was very aggressive when she could catch my fingers. Fortunately, she does not like her arms out of the water at all and exposing my hand to the air pretty much ended the tug-of-war on who had rights to my fingers.

Big Sister and "Little" Sister as well as another college friend and my two grand children stayed with us over the weekend and we all journeyed to the GA Aquarium. Bel must have known to be on good behavior. She stayed out for several hours (Big Sister and the kids all slept in the living room so they could watch Bel and fall asleep when they wanted) and was back to her sweet behavior after dinner. She not only played with me but allowed Chris (the friend) to pet her, take photos (including some flash) and did not get moody when my grand daughter turned all the lights in the living room. Bel did get a little grabby Sat around 3:00 AM but settled down and wanted a little attention. If I was not pretty sure it was not the case, I would swear she wants and audience and gets pissy if I am the only one that gives her attention.

There was a GPO at the aquarium. I was concerned that it might not still be alive and am only assuming it is the one that was a youngster over two years ago. When we got to her tank, she was curled up in the front corner with all arms tightly twisted. I figured it would not hurt to try to get her to relax so I slowly "petted" the glass with my finger and a little girl next to me copied my actions. The octo relaxed, unrolled its arms and came to the glass in front of us. Unfortunately, the cameras started flashing and she only stayed with us a few minutes but when she went to the back of the tank her arms were still not balled up. If this is the same female, she seems much healthier than the two times I have seen her. They had kept the tank dark for the first two years but now it had sort of a daylight lighting and lots of fish swimming around. I walked right by the tank without recognizing it and was curious as to why they changed their approach (the water was also much clearer). Since I did not make matters worse by giving her attention, I also wonder if they now have someone that interacts with her behind the scenes. Unfortunately, I don't know who I could ask :hmm:
 

sedna

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D- Bruce Carlson, the Chief Science Officer at the museum, is featured in Norman's book with his wife, Marj. I think at the time the book was written they were with the aquarium in Hawaii, but they are in the book as nautilus experts. I met him last year at our yearly MI conference. At the time I wasn't keeping octos yet, so I didn't talk to him about it, but I'd bet anyone as knowledgable makes sure the cephs in his aquarium are as well treated as can be. He spoke with such pride about the entire operation- not the kitchy crowd pleasers, either. Actually, I met him before going to the Georgia Aquarium, and once in there it became apparent which part is real science and what is there for show. If you get the chance, pay extra the behind the scenes tour, it's worth it. Once the tour guide realizes you know more than average, they try to get you into places off tour and hook you up with biologists if they are around!:sagrin:
 

DWhatley

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Thales;136228 said:
I named it -

Zod. Kneel before Zod.
Sooo, does this mean Zod has the sole of a cat as well? :razz:

Bel may be showing signs of aging. She is not as active as she was (plays for shorter periods and does not dance on the glass much at all) and eats less. She wants to play at about 11:30 PM but has no interest in food until much later in the morning (oxymoron?). If I don't notice her or don't get to the tank after 11:30 she sits in the front and sulks but eventually comes for attention (still refusing food). I have tried putting food in with one hand and offering the other for play and she only chooses to play, no matter how I try coaxing with the food.

She has been very good about touching without grabbing for the last couple of weeks. Until recently, she would alternate between being well behaved and sticking to my hand and I could not trust which mood she would show (and reminds me of tickeling a cat with claws :roll:). Exposing arms that stick to my hand to air seems to have finally gotten the message across. It is interesting that food in the water does not interest her and it does not effect her interaction. An hour or two after play time she is fairly quick (she is not overly quick at anything except pouncing and only after she has examined the live food for a minute or two) about taking the same food refused earlier.

We have started not feeding both octos one day a week. This is SOP for seahorses and we have noticed with other octos that they would refuse food roughly once a week after they were older.

Bel particularly likes the underside of her mantle gently rubbed and I am thinking the petting may relax the area that is expanding if she is producing eggs. Alternately, it could help with digestion since she wants to play this way before eating.

PS Still hoping for an avitar change!
 

DWhatley

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On March 9 (today is April 27) I posted that Bel had started to be seen between 11 and 1 Eastern Daylight time (12-1 standard). Over the last couple of weeks, I have have noticed that she come promptly at 11:30. She appears to just wake up at that time and is sluggish for a few minutes. She continues to refuse food but will play for half an hour and then shows me she does not want to play any more by going to the rocks (we have two signs for stopping interaction. If she goes to the substrate and removes her hands from the glass, I have to take my hands out of the tank but if she returns to the glass, we continue to play. If she leaves the glass and goes to the live rock, she is done playing for the night). I have been waiting an hour to feed her after play time but for the last two nights, I have offered food when she wants to stop playing and she has taken it immediately. When I try to offer food during play time, she wants nothing to do with it and would not take unless I left and returned to the tank. Offering the food right after playtime seems to be working very well as long as I don't offer it before she is ready.

She does very well with my straw contraption and the feeding stick and tonight I put the stick in the straws first and then offered the shrimp. Much better sequence. The picture is nothing new for the journal but it seems that these are the only ones I get of her since she leaves the front when I use a flash. Hopefully, Big Sister will post a couple of shots of their trip and the photos Kris took of Beldar during our living room campout.

I am experimenting with a new game at play time. She is not sure she likes it but does not leave and sulk when I try to get her to play. Basically, I am making a circle with my thumb and fingers and am trying to get her to swim mantle first through the hole. I am not sure if she gets the idea yet or if she is showing her cat personality but sometimes it appears she is not cooperating just because ... With some attempts, she will go to the bottom and give me the hands out of tank posture but then climbs back up to the play corner after I remove my hand. I play with her normally for a bit and try again and the reaction is mixed, sometimes she will swim through and other times she exits toward the glass. This has only been a two day experiment and I will continue to try it for the next week.
 

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Thales

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Check out Norman, Page 255 at the top. Octopus sp. 11, also look at Octopus sp. 10
 

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