[Octopus]: Luna the Mystery Octopus

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by Taollan, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. Taollan

    Taollan Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    We have one very special octopus in the Onthank lab at this moment, so I thought I would start a journal for this one octopus. Truth is, I am not exactly sure what species she is. Around Rosario Beach Marine Lab (Northern Washington) there are only two species of octopuses that occur at diveable depths: the giant Pacific octopus and the ruby octopus. Luna is neither of those species. We found this population of octopuses at the end of last year, and Luna is one that we found this year and brought into the lab for some more observation. I think she might be a smooth-skinned octopus (Muusoctopus, formerly Benthoctopus, leioderma), but she was found in much too shallow of water and a few characteristics don't really line up (although several others do). Right now we are working on some genetic analysis of this species to see if we can pin down exactly if this is a smooth-skinned octopus or something else. In the mean time, I hope to keep you all updated with how Luna is doing.
    If you are interested in seeing some video of Luna, you can watch some more at the Octopodium vlog.
    The dive she was captured in is here:

    Some more on Luna is here:


    [​IMG]
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    YES!!! This is going to be a fun read/watch!
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a "hunch" from trying to feed my own when first introduced to an aquarium. If you have difficulty getting this one to eat, I would love for you to try my thought. It has appeared that size is extremely important and that food that is about the same size as the eye (not significantly smaller or larger) is the most readily accepted. In my case, this is usually pieces thawed shrimp since I don't have access to live. Once well acclimated and accustomed to being fed various foods, the size appears to be less/not important. Unfortunately, this may not help to discover what they eat in the wild as my thought is that it has something to do with the tank/unfamiliar environment (being that dead, eye-sized pieces of shrimp are an unlikely normal fare).
     
  4. Taollan

    Taollan Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Denise,
    Thanks for the tip, I will keep that in mind. Fortunately, Luna started taking amphipods right away, and is taking small crabs now as well. She is eating pretty voraciously, which is not the experience I had with the one I caught last year. Now those three were much larger than Luna, so that might have been part of it. So I am super happy that Luna appears to be a good eater.
     
  5. Taollan

    Taollan Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Here are a couple more pictures of Luna that I took yesterday. She is pretty small and I hope these help give a sense of scale.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    ekocak and DWhatley like this.
  6. Taollan

    Taollan Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    I really had hoped to keep this more updated, but the research season got way too busy. However, we recently released Luna back into the wild where she was collected to live out her days, and on that dive we got tons of great video of others of her species in their natural environment. For decades we have thought there are only two species of octopuses at depths you can dive to in Puget Sound/Salish Sea area. It appears that there are now three. For me, this is super exciting. You can follow this on the latest Octopodium.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    @Taollan Oh, oh, I need to go find a photo that Roy Caldwell posted awhile back. The fluorescence around the eye brought it to mind - he didn't know the species.

    I see an "ant farm" arrangement in future observations ;). Are these particularly slimy? Some of the octos in Norman's Cephalopods a world guide use slime to reinforce the walls when they dig in the muck. A few even have slim pouches near the mouth.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Here is the mystery octopus that @Neogonodactylus kept. Sadly, even I can tell they are different (note the eye shot at 11:07 that initially peaked my interest).
     
  9. Taollan

    Taollan Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    @DWhatley We have already been kicking around the thought of an "Ant Farm", so great minds think alike! These octopuses are no more slimy than a rubescens or GPO. I have seen pictures of Cistopus with the mucus sacs. This octopus is definitely not quite like that.

    It's not "sadly" not the same as Neogonodactylus' mystery octopus. More mystery octopuses the better!
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    LOL, the "sadly" part is more that I had hoped to have found a potential match and found that my memory did not hold much detail since they were quite obviously very different. Cool on the colorful fluorescence around the eyes for both though.
     

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