[Octopus]: Iris - O. Briareus

TMoct

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There is a new tenant in the aquarium, so far without a name. He arrived on Friday, Jan. 10.

I ordered this guy on ebay (seller "wmsfm" from Florida). I asked about the species, size, and original home and was told Octopus Vulgaris with 6-8" arms, coming from the Upper Key, FL. Based on this I expected a Briareus with 6-8" arms, and received a Briarius with >12" arms. Compared to my last little guy, this octopus is *huge*!

Interaction and communication with this seller was very good, and the octopus arrived well packed with a bag of hermit crabs and snails included as a free extra.

I drip-acclimated him for a few hours in a covered bucket, empty except for a cobalt-blue pint glass on its side (available as a 'cave'). He never climbed into the glass during acclimation, but it was pretty easy to gather him into it and then transfer him into the tank (by just resting the glass, with him in it, on its side on the floor of the tank).

He climbed out slowly after an hour or so and started exploring the tank, and seemed very comfortable and relaxed -- not overly shy, but also not overly frantic like "I've got to get out of here!"

He's much less afraid of low light than my previous octopus, and is comfortable wandering around and exploring in the early evening.

I put a few hermit crabs into the tank, but they are very small -- not sure if he'll even bother with them. I also have a shipment of fiddlers on the way from Sachs systems, which should be more to his taste. Yesterday evening he was out exploring so I tried to feed him a silverside fish on a bamboo skewer, not being sure if he would be interested in it or even comfortable with me sticking things into the tank. To my pleasant surprise he took it like an old pro (as well as the feeding stick). Again, he seemed interested, curious, hungry without seeming desperate or frantic. He settled into the back corner and ate for about 30 or 60 minutes, then alternated exploring and resting for the rest of the night.

All in all, so far so good. This appears to be a pretty mature specimen, so I'm not sure how long he will last with me, but overall he appears very healthy and happy. I'll try to shoot some video tonight.

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DWhatley

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I am never sure which is best. If you receive a very young octopus, they are with you for a long time but are not visible until around 5 months old and then are still very shy. Older animals are more visible, are willing to be somewhat active in daylight and some interact easily but your time with them is short. You can probably (maybe, sort of) get an idea of age by watching how fast the missing arm grows. If the arm regenerates quickly, it may be younger than it look but if you see little to no regrowth in the next couple of weeks, then it is likely nearing/into senescence. This one is definitely an adult but age is a guessing game and size is not much help.

I can't quite tell which arm is missing. If it is the third arm to the right (clockwise as you orient your eyes with the octopus') then it is likely to be a male that has recently mated (or attempted mating). This would not tell you anything about age though as males appear to mature around 5 months.

If it is a female, the mantle is not full enough to be carrying eggs yet and not stretched out as in a post brood condition.
 

TMoct

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The octo with no name is doing great. I put a couple of small (slightly smaller than golf-ball) clams in there, and they promptly buried themselves. I moved them onto a rock, but octo isn't interested. I also tried some frozen clams on the half-shell (thawed of course), but also no interest. He loves the silversides, though, and has taken one each night.

A couple more photos. I'm not a huge fan of using a flash, but whaddya gonna do...
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DWhatley

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Unless I am mistaken, that missing arm IS the third arm to the right (clockwise as you orient your eyes with the octos) and that makes me guess he is a male (solely based on my experience with SueNami, my first O. briareus).

You can't use Octopus with No Name for him though, that was taken by Onn :twisted:
 

TMoct

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Still no name, but some news.
Octo pretty much went into senescence a couple of weeks ago. She dug out the sand below a large flat rock in the tank and started hiding out all the time. Occasionally she would come out and swim around, but stayed mostly out of sight. I tried to keep feeding her, and she would take a silverside every few days.

By Tuesday (Feb. 25) I hadn't seen *any* sign of her for several days, and I wasn't sure if she was dead or alive, so I decided I needed to take a look under that rock. I couldn't lift the rock (from above) and look under it at the same time, so I lifted it a few inches and propped another large piece of live rock underneath, so that there was a 1 inch gap opened up along the bottom front edge allowing me to see in.

Good news -- Octo is still alive.
Bad news -- Octo was pretty pissed that I had moved that rock... She didn't lash out at me or anything, but was clearly agitated and writhing around.
Exciting news -- the underside of that rock is covered with eggs!

I've been trying to get a photo, but it's pretty hard. I don't want to spend too much time peering in, because Octo is quite irritated when I do. She has moved lots of other smaller rocks in the way of the gap that I had opened up, but I still have a few views into her den.

So far I don't see any little babies (or octo eyes) in the eggs -- they look pure white. So they may not be fertilized. We'll see how they progress. Hopefully I'll have some photos soon.
 

TMoct

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Some photos... Do we see little eyes in the eggs???
And my daughter finally came up with a name: Iris
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DWhatley

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Definitely eyes! Here is a link to Kooah's thread with a composite picture of her egg development. I am not sure it will help determine when they will hatch but it gives you something to study :wink:. There are additional links close to that post for the only journalled success we have for raising a pair of O. briareus hatchlings (only two survived to adults but they did live a full lifespan, mated and produced fertile eggs but no surviving third generation). :fingerscrossed: this will be another!
 

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