ID Help Please!

Discussion in 'ID Requests' started by Tommy, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Tommy

    Tommy Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Hi,

    First I'd like to thank all the TONMO contributors. I've been a lurker for several months now, and I have found the site to be both an interesting and invaluable octopus resource. Two days ago, I acquired my first octo, Lumbzykin, so I felt compelled to finally register.

    As first order of business, I'm hoping to ID my new octo. While the LFS seemed knowledgeable about care, all the info they could offer was that it is a juvenile "Caribbean" octopus and not a pygmy. It is a little bigger than a golf ball when balled up and its total arm span seems to be about 8". Please let me know if you have any ideas as to what it might be. I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures, but I wanted to avoid frightening it with a flash. The first two show what might be its normal coloration while I was drip acclimating it (pictured with an emerald crab) - tan with dark brown striped patterns. The third shows it right after being placed into the tank. Upon entering the water, it promptly changed to a solid blue/brown and jetted out of sight behind live rock.

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    Additionally, while I'm glad I've provided plenty of hiding places, I haven't seen the octopus since placing it in the tank. I know it is eating based upon empty crab shells, but I would like to know when I might expect it to become a little braver and venture out from its hiding spot so that i can enjoy it. I'll try to add better pictures once it does.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    -Tommy
     
  2. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    :welcome: Tommy! The blue/green sheen and less tapered arms in photo number three appear to indicate O. briareus, more than anything else, but as usual, ID from these pics alone is a hard to do affair. Any additional photographs will therefore be most appreciated in aiding your ID.

    Cheers!
     
  3. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Cool! :welcome:

    Maybe O.Briareus but i have never see mine get dark like that. also the suckers look dark on his animal.
     
  4. sedna

    sedna Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Welcome! Try cruising the journals forum, especially O. briareus journals, to compare the picture there to your new friend.
     
  5. Tommy

    Tommy Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks for the responses. I decided to set up a webcam to snap pics upon motion detection, aimed it at the entrance to what I think Lumbzykin has chosen as a den, and left it running while I was at work today. Apparently, my octopus was moving around the tank during the afternoon while the tank lights were on and the webcam got a few decent pictures, which I posted on my photobucket account for anyone interested and to shed more light on the species.

    [​IMG]

    http://s771.photobucket.com/albums/xx352/xtomcx/?action=view&current=01-22143434.jpg&newest=1
     
  6. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    The shape looks very Briareus but the colors are confusing me.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    This will be the first time I have suggested this species and it is mostly by elimination.

    Please remember that the photos are not clear and octos can present enough different looks to mystify the best of the experts. I am a hobbiest and still novice but will list my reasons so that you can try to discount them on further observations:

    I eliminated joubini because there is way too much webbing
    I elminated mercatoris because of color, webbing and arm to mantle ratio
    I eliminated briareus because of the coloring and arm taper shown in your other photos
    I eliminated hummelincki/filosus bacause of the amount of webbing and arm length to body ratio (this would be my second guess though so look for eye spots).


    That leaves only one other common octopus that works for the Caribbean and none of my eilminations exclude it but we don't see much of them. Look at the photos below and see if anyone can eliminate this one :sagrin:

    If I am correct, I am jealous, it will get fairly large, you won't see much in the way of skin papilla (bumps) and you have a young one.

    Oh, and you can cheat by putting your mouse over the photo to see my guess if you have not figured it out.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Tommy

    Tommy Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thank you for the responses, all. I'm seeing a little more of my octopus every day, so maybe I can start getting some better, clearer pictures to upload.

    Anyway, right now, I'm hoping the Briareus id's are correct, because if it is by some chance a Vulgaris, I'm afraid I'll be forced to put it up for adoption in a few months as I simply can't do justice to an octopus that large with my setup.
     
  9. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    How big is your setup?
     
  10. Tommy

    Tommy Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    I have a standard dimension 75 gallon main tank with a second 30 gallon tank I partitioned to serve as both a sump tank for filtering and a refugium for feeder crabs and other smaller creatures. There is about a 3" deep sand bed and 65 pounds of live rock in the main tank.
     
  11. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Cool sounds like a great octo setup. Just make sure you have a good protein skimmer.

    i think DWhatley has ruled out Briareus and is leaning toward Vulgaris for your new freind. Briareus can get quite large, mine has a spread of over three feet and a mantle that is 5.5" long.
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    From the only ones that I have seen, I don't think the Atlantic vulgaris get anywhere near the size of the Mediteranean ones (but most octopus species have a wide range of sizes within the species and that has caused species identification issues in itself). If my min-observations are correct, the mantle will get larger but the arms about the same as a briareaus. I would worry about room to roam but the two at mote did not have a lot of roaming room and did very well (albeit the tank was likely 200+ gallons - I tried to get the volume but failed - but there are two in that tank). Securing your top for either species is highly recommended. I do hope you get photos. What colors are you seeing while it is out?

    I wish Roy or Ceph would chime in as they have likely seen adn IDed the largest variety.
     
  13. sulley

    sulley Wonderpus Registered

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    couold the color of the sand have anything to do with the color display?
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, the substrate the animal is climbing over will heavily influence both color and patterning but the extent of the color match depends a lot on the species of octopus. Some have a much wider variety of body and color changes. Briareus tends to show white and shades of redish or peachish brown but no yellows. If you shine a light on it at night (or take a flash photo) you should see very fluorescent green "stars"/dots. Some times the green is visible in the daylight as well. If you are seeing yellow browns (or orangish browns) then look for an eye spot (circle on the webbing below the actual eye). The ocelli usually show up best the animal is disturbed. You can see the eye spots on my avitar if you look closely but there are better pictures on her[URL="http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/11358/#post-137941urnal [/URL]. Post #14 shows both of them pretty clearly but there are numerous photos on the thread to compare for color. The colors she shows are not common to briareus. Look at the Forums->Journals and Photos->List of our Octopuses 2009 for other hummelincki/filosus and briareus pictures to see the color variations.

    If your octopus is showing browns without the pink (look at the very dark shades that Maya shows against the black wall) then we rule out briareus and start thinking hummelincki/filosus or vulgaris. Hummelincki would be the most common but vulgaris is also native to the Caribbean. Both have a much wider color range but the hummelincki has the eye spots and can show more skin changing. If you are not seeing a lot of skin patterning while it is on the LR, then I still think it may be vulgaris.
     
  15. Tommy

    Tommy Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    Thanks, Capt. I have a Coralife 125 skimmer on my setup, and it seems to be doing to job so far, despite that the water level in the riser seems to fluctuate considerably (and has caused a few overflows when I don't keep an eye on it). If anyone has any advice on this, by the way, please give me any pointers.

    And D, my substrate is mostly black with tan mixed in, my live rock is currently bare and therefore beige and tan in color, and my tank has a black background. The tank is a few feet from my computer, and lately, when I'm on the computer I've noticed my octo likes to find a spot where he's "concealed" and spy on me as if to figure me out. I was initially only able to notice him because of the movement of his gills, but he has been exposing a little more of his body each day while doing the spying, most recently allowing his two front tentacles to drape out exposed. If I stand up from the computer or get too close, he disappears back into the live rock.

    So far, I've seen him display a tan/brown striped coloration only during the acclimation as previously posted, a completely black coloration a few times while moving along the black background, and a solid coloration ranging from beige to dark brown the remainder and majority of the time to match the live rock, depending on whether he's in a lit spot or in shadows.

    So no sign of any color other than shades of brown, and I definitely haven't noticed any false eye spots or any hints of peach or red. Color changes seem to be infrequent - my octo always matches his substrate and lighting. I just purchased a few mushroom corals of various colors to brighten up the live rock, so maybe that will inspire him to try different shades.

    Lastly, on Saturday I placed a glass milk jug in the tank with a feeder crab inside to test out my octo, and tonight it was empty when I got home from work. It seemed he was eyeing it all weekend but was scared to go for it when I was around. I'll have to check what my webcam got tomorrow. Maybe I'll try something with a smaller opening next to make him work for his meal now that I know he's figured it out.
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I am sticking with NOT briareus for sure but hummelincki/filosus is not ruled out as sometimes the eyespots are not a apparent as on the ones I have had. We have had members swear they weren't there and report seeing them the next day. One sure way to find out is not recommended but observe if it happens. Hummelincki will turn bright white when frightened and the eyespots will literally glow. If you see this one turn white with fright as it were and not see the eyespots then my first choice is still the most likely. I did not catch the best of it on film but here are a series of shots I did get when the dogs came charging into the room (or something like that) and scared Octane.

    Without scaring the octo, the next determination is to watch how much it patterns its skin. Does his skin to have lots of bumps of varying sizes or is the skin usually very smooth (like in my avitar) with no or few bumps. These skin fingers are part of the natural camoflage and should be apparent while climbing on the rock work. Hopefully some of your video tape will let you see if he patterns his skin. If the mantle does not change texture much then we are still pointing toward vulgaris.

    We have had many, many observations of octopuses seeming to like TV or computer screens. My son has a damsel that he swears watches TV so he angled the tank and TV in his room for the fish to be able to see. I won't say the fish actually watches but it is always positioned as if it is IF the TV is on (it doesn't matter if someone is watching it).

    Slyly spying on their enviornment and the moving animals out side the tank is also common but I think the light movement of the computer/TV may help keep them curious about their surroundings, particularly if there is nothing that swims with then in the tank.
     
  17. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    Thats interesting because my computer is right next to my octo and tank and my moms is on the other side of it. All of my octos when i first got them would either be on my moms side or mine. Maybe computers and tvs will help entice new octos from out of the dens?
     
  18. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Legs' tank is also next to my computer, she loves to watch me and the computer. She will plaster herself to the glass and bob u[ and down, kinda like a parrot. I am convinced she likes all the colors.
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Movement or moving lights are more likely as we don't think they see in color. There are many keepers who would argue that their animals appear to see color and hear at human frequencies but there is no evidence of what we understand should be there in the eye to perceive more than shades of grey. Experiments with color detection fail but that was true with hearing until recent studies showed a possible frequency detection range after noticing a potential detection method (initially discovered in shrimp, if I remember correctly).
     
  20. Tommy

    Tommy Pygmy Octopus Registered

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