ID help - out of practice!

Discussion in 'ID Requests' started by davelin315, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    Hey everybody, long time no posts for me! Life has gotten quite busy and somehow, even though I now work at the National Aquarium (not in husbandry, so there's my excuse), I seem to have forgotten how to identify an octopus! Anyway, I was at a local store and they had an octopus that they had gotten in from "Florida". Not sure if this was transshipped and was simply originating from a supplier there or if it was actually harvested there, but it looked to be a healthy specimen so I wanted to inquire about what it was here from the experts.

    The octopus was a smaller one, mantle was perhaps 3-5" across when it was spread out. The arms seemed to be slightly raised at the top with a "flap" of skin raised above and the suckers looked to alternate instead of being in rows. It alternated between close to white to brown splotchy, no rings. The mantle extended between each arm resulting in "webbing" between each arm. The skin went from fairly smooth to bumpy and it appeared to have some cirri above each eye. The eyes were not especially large, but also not especially small... I know, not a great way to describe the eyes! For comparison, there was another octopus that appeared to have very small eyes and another one that seemed to have very large eyes, neither of which was very healthy (3 out of 4 were not great). I took some interest in this one and watched it eat, but didn't want to take it unless I had a good ID of it. Forgot to take a picture to help...

    Is it possible that it is an O. vulgaris? The people at the store kept on repeating the same canned information to me - it gets to about 3' and lives about 3 years... so they've identified it as being something between a GPO and a O. vulgaris... a great help!

    Any help you can provide would be great.
     
  2. gpx1200

    gpx1200 GPO Registered

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    yup sounds like an octopus. i don't think youll get any id without pics. i've never heard or read of any aqurium trade octos that live for three years so i would not put much trust in what the store employes have to say about it.
    if it does come from florida i could be either vulgarius or briareus and i believe their are others colected in florida as well
    in my area it seems that every octo that comes into any store is called a vulgaris, i believe this is becouse it's the only species name they know so thats what they call it, i have asked in one store "what other species can you get" and was told "it's the only species you can keep in an aqurium". i don't shop their any more.
     
  3. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    Yeah, I pretty much knew that they knew nothing when they said that it was probably a Florida octopus... 3 years and 3', I almost laughed at them except they were really serious.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Dave,
    MANTLE 3" - 5"? Did you mean arm span? a 3" mantle is not a "small" octopus in the aquarium world and a 5" mantle would likely mean a female about to lay eggs.

    Did the webbing go all the way down the arm and was it translucent? When you say "brown" was that a reddish brown or a milk chocolate brown or a dark chocolate brown? Most octos can be white but O. briareus shows white most of the time. The "brown" is more of a peach but this does not sound like O. briareus

    We don't see any typical alternating single row arms but I have photos that look that way sometimes. It it is truely single row alternating, it would not be something typical of FL and is likely a dwarf species but I think most single row animals are deep water.

    I just got a little female (SeaMax(ine) ) that may be what you are looking at if the arm span is 3" - 5", mantle length about 1.5" and the brown a chocolate, almost black. This appears to be a species I have had once before but could never ID. It does have an ocellus (eye spot) but it is brown and not always visible.

    My slide show with some photos and ID characteristics of the most common can be seen at www.octopusid.com. Click on the presentation page and use the scroll and outline on the left to navigate. Anything in red is clickable. Note that the joubini is actually an O. vulgaris :oops:. More photos of the vulgaris as it grew up can be found in LittleBit's thread (the eyes are most telling but I have not updated the presentation).

    A photo would be helpful :roll:

    PS: congrats again on the new job!!!
     
  5. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    Sorry, I'm used to GPOs at work now... meant this one was "smaller" in comparison to the other ones that they had. The mantle was about 3-5" across. Came across this picture as well on the front page and it looks very similar.



     

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  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Dave, I think you have a man's perspective about guestimating size :sly:.

    The photo is O. briareus. At 5" from behind the eyes to the tip of the mantle it would be very large for this species and definitely adult. It is unlikely it is O. briareus if it is 5" side to side. At 3" from the eyes to the tip, it would be adult but there is no telling how old. At 3" across, if it is at the tip, then I would guess a female about to lay eggs. If you want a shot at raising hatchlings, this is a large egg species. Sucker tips are usually white but may take on a tinge of peach (pinky orange).

    The alternative for FL would be O. vulgaris. The brown is tan to dark chocolate, the siphon will be orange, sometimes quite bright as well as the sucker tips when they show color.

    The only other animal I can think of would be O. hummelincki but you said it did not show an ocellus (it is not always visible) that 5" in any direction would be very large for this species. Sucker tips will be purple blue.

    We have seen a couple of larger animals that have not been clearly hummelincki or vulgaris. Size wise they were large and more aggressive than O. hummelincki.

    Check the end of the posts linked. Some of them have a measurement of the animal after death. This will be smaller than alive but will give you a feel for sizing at senescence.
     

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