Breeding Question

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by davelin315, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    Question for everyone... I am in the process once again of attempting to keep an unknown species of octopus that comes into the local Asian market (threads here http://www.tonmo.com/community/threads/asian-food-market-octos-take-2.17077/ and here http://www.tonmo.com/community/threads/rescued-an-octopus-from-an-asian-food-market-today.11865/) for the second time in the past 4 years and upon the death of the last female, I decided to do a dissection of it in an attempt to give more information for a potential ID. Anyway, I do not expect to have a lot of success with any of these as I previously kept one for about 4 months but it never ate, otherwise I have only had one that took food aggressively and two that took it when it was placed on or next to them (the last two). I do not have qualms about attempting this even though most of them don't last even a week since they are being brought in as food and my purchases don't influence the store on whether to but them or not, but am hopeful that I can find success with one at some point in time.

    I have learned a lot about them through simply observing, but have yet to have an individual that did well enough for long enough that I could observe natural behavior.

    At this point, I am wondering what the possibility is of breeding these... I typically buy two at one time (if I came across a healthy batch of them I would probably buy all of them) and after the dissection discovered that they do have large eggs. Now I am wondering if it is possible if I have a male and a female that die off at about the same time if I could fertilize the eggs by dissecting both the male and female and then attempt to raise them...

    Has anyone ever tried to do this? I know that breeding them is difficult to begin with and that I would be harvesting eggs and sperm from a dead or nearly dead octopus, not even sure at what point after death they become non-viable. Curious as to whether cold water helps to preserve the gametes after death. Any information you have or could steer me to would be great, anecdotal or documented.
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Whoa! LOVE THIS! Try to get a hold of @Danna . I know she did this with Humboldt squid using a petri dish during her doctorate studies. Tony has our, email me if I am mentioned, software (ie when you use the at sign in front of a member's id) working but individuals must make changes to their profile to turn it "on" so Danna may not see the reference. She is on Facebook (danna staaf) and I am her "friend" :roll: so I will try directing her here that way but don't know how often she checks her page.
     
  3. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    I also posted on this thread, but it seems to have disappeared. I had a link to an article about the stages of maturation of eggs in octopus, will try to go find...
    http://www.scielo.cl/pdf/ijmorphol/v31n4/art50.pdf

    So basically you would have to find a female octopus with mature eggs. I would think that the sperm would be more likely to be viable than the eggs. I do not think you would have much luck fertilizing eggs this way, but it wouldn't hurt to try.
     
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  4. Danna

    Danna Cuttlefish Registered

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    Hey, sorry to be slow in responding! Had family in town for a bit. Yes, I spent a few years monkeying around with mixing squid eggs and sperm in Petri dishes and it is kind of a massive headache but also pretty fun. The trickiest part is simulating the egg jelly that they're normally laid in. We do this for ommastrephid squid by freeze-drying an oviducal gland, grinding it into powder, and then adding it to the dish along with the egg and sperm. Yeah, not joking.

    Here is a link to a PDF of a paper that I co-authored on in vitro techniques in oceanic squid. I feel like someone must have done something similar with octopuses, but I can't think of any references off the top of my head . . . at least the squid techniques will give you a place to start! I'd love to hear how it plays out if you do give it a try.

    Certainly I would expect the gametes to keep longer in cold water, and gametes from a freshly dead animal should be okay, but as soon as decomposition sets in I doubt they'd be any good. Sperm last a lot longer than eggs so if you can persuade your male to die first that would be nice. Alternatively, can you find any sperm stored by the female from past matings? Then you only need one animal, which is handy!
     
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  5. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    I am unsure of what to look for in the female in terms of stored sperm. I know that the male delivers a packet, but not sure what that packet looks like in this particular species. I have read that sometimes they just store sperm along their arms and sever the entire arm - is it actually the tip that holds the sperm? Otherwise is there a way to tell if the female is actually holding the sperm absent seeing a random arm inside her mantle? :)

    I'm hoping that this time around I'm unsuccessful in harvesting anything... I did lose a male today but the female seems like she's doing well along with the other male. I don't want to do any sort of harvesting at this point but have frozen the male that died.
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The paper that @cuttlegirl referenced has a lot of info I can't read and images you can't see without a microscope but if you wade through it there is a section that discussed the eggs and sperm of O. rubescens and determining if they are ripe. From prior discussions the
    male's needham sack can be hard to locate (did you keep the one that died to look?) but would contain the spermatophores that are ready to be released. Since most shallow water octopuses (if not all) seem to reproduce using spermatophores rather than sperm, you will want to look for long white "worms"/"threads". I think it is most common for the female to store them in the spermatophore packet until fertilization and, unlike squid, they are likely to be somewhere in the mantle cavity rather than embedded in the skin.

    Here is really brief description of the vulgaris sequence for ejecting spermatophores. Here is a photo of a single Giant Squid spermatophore from Kat's giant squid dissection album. It is (as you can imagine) far larger than anything you will find but may help identify them.
     
  7. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    I did save the male and have a great microscope so may thaw and dissect this one with a little more precision than I did the female... I have a better idea now of what I am looking for but again, without knowing the species and habitat for sure of these guys, may be a crapshoot, although per what Denise said, there might be clues in the male's body about where these typically live.
     
  8. Danna

    Danna Cuttlefish Registered

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    I'm fairly certain that all cephalopods use spermatophores, in fact. (Though I would be fascinated to hear that I'm wrong.) Some female octos have a special pouch inside the mantle for storing spermatophores but I've never dissected one to look for it, so I'm not very helpful there. =) I'll just echo Denise in suggesting that you look for slender white threads or needles, in either male or female, and good luck!
     
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  9. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    I recovered eggs but no spermatophores from the female that just died. The male that I had is frozen so retrieving gametes is likely impossible. I did put the eggs into the water under current to see if they can survive for a bit...
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Citizen biologist! I love it!
     

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