ID tiny octopus with eggs

TheKraken'sMom

Pygmy Octopus
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#1
I bought a tiny octopus sold as a dwarf pacific octopus a few months ago. I don't have very many pics of her as she's always in her little barnacle cave, but she is very small, her mantle is about 1.5 inches and her legs are very long and slender. She has laid fertilized eggs (about 50) which I found a few days ago and I'll attach some photos. They are the size of a grain of rice. Any help would be appreciated as I know small egg species are not known to be successfully reared. I've narrowed her down to either a joubini or a mercatoris, and I got her from a Northern California lfs is that helps.
 

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DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Moderator
#2
She is not likely either of your two best guesses as they are both tropical species from the Caribbean/Atlantic (also, O. mercatoris lays large eggs that have been, ie with small survival numbers, successfully raised). Unfortunately, the pictures (adorable) don't give a lot of clues.

Since California does not allow the sale of local species, most of the octos are imported from the Philipines. We have recently seen a number of suspected O. bocki (Victor and Poni, and Zeke - you can search the journals for earlier journals as well but we have not seen them for awhile so the titles do not contain the species) and this may be a good guess. Have a look as some of the photos in these journals and particularly Neogonodactylus' images in the media section. Pay particular attention to the eyes.
 

TheKraken'sMom

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
#5
These eggs are about 6mm. Two hatched and were jetting around the tank two days ago, their legs were short and tiny, resembled a cuttlefish more then an octo so I assumed they were planktonic. Is it possible they hatched prematurely from me disturbing the barnacle before I knew she had eggs? They had very apparent yolks still. I'm sorry for all the questions, I'm very knew to octopodes and was not anticipating eggs.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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#6
Definitely premature but the why is not clear, it may be more that your water is warmer than its best developing habitat. You can slow the hatching down a bit by SLOWLY lowering the temp a few degrees (I recommend a fan across the surface rather than trying to change the room temp or using a chilling device).

The short arms do suggest a pelagic hatchling. I would guess that an egg size of at least 10 mm would be needed to identify large egg/benthic animals. For comparison, memory suggests O. briareus (large egg species) eggs are about 15 mm and they disappear into the live rock (become fully benthic) in less than a week after hatching. I've also raised a couple of generations of O. mercatoris but, oddly, have never seen the eggs. The hatchlings are a good bit smaller than O. briareus and look like white ticks on the glass but the arms are quite pronounced.
 

TheKraken'sMom

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
#7
I had picked her barnacle up out of the water thinking she might be dead as she didn't come out for food for a few days, saw the eggs and stunned, put the barnacle back. Two hatched directly after. It wasn't in an accessible area so I did kind of jostle it out from around some rocks. I have the tank at 79 using a heater, I could gradually dial it down. I can see legs in the eggs but not in the same mantle to leg ratio seen in adults. The legs appear to be half the size of the mantle, some have flipped and most have considerable yolks still. This is what she looked like when I got her. As soon as she was placed in the tank she jumped on a blue leg hermit and devoured him. Which is when I took the pic. She is otherwise very reclusive though does a tug of war for her food daily, fed off some long tweezers.
 

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DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Moderator
#8
I would definitely try dialing back the heater to 75 or even 72 (depending upon how much heat your equipment generates). Since you are using a heater you are likely safe to dial it all the way back to a setting you want as the water will cool slowly.

Such a cutie. Unfortunately, she could be any number of species as the photo does not give any distinctive characteristics. Here is a link to a series of merc photos (mine). Note the small star around the eye and the red coloration (star not always visible). Your little girl's coloration reminds me a bit of Espy (unknown species but likely in the Abdopus family). Where mercs and joubini are Atlantic/Caribbean, the Abdopus group are from the Pacific. Most of the animals we see are much larger but a few have been dwarfs.
 

tonmo

Titanites
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#9
D, what to do in such a situation where there are multiple survivors? Would you recommend providing (selling?) back to lfs? Shipping tips for other interested TONMOers?
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#10
D, what to do in such a situation where there are multiple survivors? Would you recommend providing (selling?) back to lfs? Shipping tips for other interested TONMOers?
To be honest, the only time I remember excess surviving octopuses was Zyan Silver's batch of bimacs. He sold viable, ie several months old, animals to TONMO members as well as through local pet stores. Hatchlings (and very young wild caught in my experience as a receiver) don't survive shipping well. With the O. Mercator is, only 5 made it to viability in. Either generation and I raised all of them. With the O. Briareus, I offered to give away most of the new hatchling to anyone who would come get them. I suspect two of the ones I kept died because of their environment. Only 2 survived to live a natural life cycle.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#12
Feel free to throw anything you can think of at them as food. You may want to put a few in a separate tank using only the water from your main tank (even for a water change) and experiment with different foods and feeding frequency. Note though that our longest successes with even the large egg species have been with the animals kept in the primary tank (hence suggesting using only hatchling tank water).

I think our longest record was 21 days. All of us root for anyone to beat it :fingerscrossed:
 

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