How long will a female brood if the eggs are not viable

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by DWhatley, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I believe that Trapper has been brooding longer than it should take eggs to hatch (roughly 8 weeks). She continues to eat daily (she actually seems to be actually taking more meat from the crab recently) but will not leave her den and I noticed this week the the ends of her arms are often coiled in that corkscrew look Carol has mentioned and I saw in the pygmy I had for only a week.

    Should I expect her to brood until the end or is it more normal for her to exit her den and give up trying to hatch infertile eggs?
     
  2. corw314

    corw314 Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Every octopus is different is what I've found. The corkscrew look to the legs is never a good sign. Ink had non-fertile eggs stopped eating for a while, but started again and lived probably 2 more months after coming out of her den. She eventually stopped guarding her eggs.
     
  3. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Its really variable, we had one who brooded for 80 days then came out of the den to die. We had another who brooded for just 14 days then came out and lived a couple of weeks more.

    We actually try not to keep females til they're broody. We release at about 18 months old so they can breed (males too!) but sometimes we've been caught out!

    J
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks Carol & Jean,
    We have seen a slight shift in her behavior this week so I think she will be coming out soon. I hope it is because she is giving up on the eggs and will still be around for a few more weeks but ...

    Jean, I noticed you often mentioning your catch, show and release program for the octos. I love the concept. How many other critters do you do this with and how do you go about it? To clarify, do employees actually do the release or do you have regular fishermen/collectors that both catch and release for you?
     
  5. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    We do catch show and release with quite a few critters, Moki (fish!), Dogfish, Carpet Sharks, 7 Gill Sharks (although generally we only have them when they've been brought in injured, so it's a case of treat, show and release!), Trumpeter (fish!) Giant 7 Armed Stars among many others. Animals that tend to stay with us forever are either captive bred (Seahorses, Pipefish) or are convalescents that will no longer survive in the wild eg Spike one of our Leatherjackets, who came in with just the worst fungal infection I have ever seen, his defensive spine was badly damaged by the fungus and now is too soft/brittle to be of any use to him.

    We have a couple of local fishermen who help us out from time to time, but mainly the staff catch and release often with the help of the lab staff. We are a tiny aquarium attached to a university so we don't have separate husbandry/front of house/education/maintenance teams we do a bit of all of it! (check out http://www.otago.ac.nz/marinestudies for more info about us!). BUT we can call upon the expertise of the adjoining lab staff and grad students (many of our staff are grad students) and academics.

    cheers

    J
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Jean,
    I took a quick look and will be back to read the rest but there was a statement about octopuses that I have seen written two different ways and been meaning to ask for clarification. The site states that octos inject poison and suck out the meat. I have also seen where the poison is supposed to start the digestion by liquifying the food. Other references, however, state that the poison is just to kill or soften the shell and that the octo then eats the meat. I have tried to examine the remains of the fiddlers that Trap eats and can't tell if the meat has been "liquified" or not. Sometimes the entire shell is empty but at other times there is still obvious meat (the bodies are never shredded though). I have also noticed that she seems to keep a leg after she is done with the main body for a "snack" later. When she ejects the leg, the shell covering is intact.

    Can you clarify if the injected venom actually liquifies the meat for extraction by sucking?

    Thanks!
     
  7. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    I've never seen the shell softened in any of ours. My understanding of the venom was that it kills the prey and starts the digestive process, which then looses the carapace and the octopus takes it from there. Certainly when I've been cleaning up afte the octopus the crabs shells are hard and clean as a whistle! I guess there may be some variation amongst individuals as to how clean they leave the plate :lol:

    J
     

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