[Octopus]: Mama - O. mercatoris (?)

sedna

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I have had this one for 5 1/2 weeks now, it's well acclimated- if nothing else. I got it from Matt Andrews at Tom's Caribbean Tropicals, he had it labeled briareus or vulgaris. I waited this long to journal it because I was worried that it will turn out to be a brooding joubini- it reminds me a lot of that one I had a few years ago.

I couldn't tell if it is male of female when it was acclimating. I should have gotten more pics, but I couldn't guess that it was never going to come out of that barnacle! I put it in the bucket during acclimation, and it hasn't come out (in front of me) since. It has eye "flaps" under it's eyes, it sits there and watches out from that den all day long. Sometimes it holds a shell up in front of it's den like a door, and it keeps it's arms up over it's eyes like a merc, but it's way too big for that. It has the blue sheen like you see in briareus, and it has red bands on it's arms. One shot here is of the back of it's head, with arm wrapped around. I was worried I'd see eggs in it's mantle, but I didn't see anything. The only thing I'm sure of is that it's growing, and it will have to come out sooner or later because it's going to be too big for it soon. Unless it's a brooding jobbing...

It doesn't like "shrimp on a stick," but does like hermit crabs. It will hoard shell until there isn't any more room, then throw shells out when it runs out of room. It hangs farthest out of it's den after dark and in the morning until 9 or so.
 

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sedna

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These are terrible shots, but what you can tell is that the second and third arms are the longest. I haven't seen the deep webbing I'd expect from a briereus, but then I haven't seen much of anything!
 

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sedna

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I decided to take the barnacle out and see what's up. It's a dwarf with eggs. Not a long sting of eggs, just stuck-to -the-top-of-the-barnacle eggs. Didn't count how many, but not a ton. I was putting the barnacle back in the tank when I double checked and saw the eggs, so I didn't take a lot of time to look closer.

Merc or joubini?
 

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sedna

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Was hoping I'd be able to take her into the aquarium and let her eggs hatch out into the newly unoccupied kreisel (the final jelly finally died off)- just to see if I could get more time out of them in a tank w/ no predators (lots of bristle worms). But, there is a donor who paid for a new tank for that spot, so I'm just going to have to do what we all do w/ small eggs- watch them all die off... I know they wouldn't live to adulthood there, but it'd be a fun experiment!
 

DWhatley

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The in-tank pictures definitely look like O. mercatoris but your out of the water shots have me wondering. I have never seen a good photo of O. joubini and never kept one so we will have to wait for the eggs to hatch. The low count speaks to O. mercatoris. Strangely, even though I have raised a couple of generations of mercs, I have never seen the eggs :roll: so I can't give you a comparison for size guessing.
 

sedna

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Silly girl still hangs out of her den in the evening and takes small hermits. She was busy last night, as this morning I found that she somehow upended the barnacle so that her den is punting upward. She would have had to come quite far out of her den to accomplish this. She did this 2 weeks ago, but I righted the barnacle after I fed her, not convinced she'd done it purposely. This time I'm going to leave it as is.

D, have you ever had a brooding merc be so social? Mine were always shut up tight! Also, we should change the name of the journal. I don't know, "Sedna's NOT briareus?"
 

sedna

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Her den is POINTING upward. Again, need to be wearing those reading glasses...
 

DWhatley

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How about giving her a name and we follow the :roll: standard format :biggrin2:. The not briareus would be funny but hard to find later for people looking for merc journals.

In the back of my mind, (again I have never seen, let alone kept one and can't even call it anecdotal - probably from your experience with a likely candidate) I am thinking that joubini may be more personable than the mercs but I have had two mercs that were wonderful. My first female (Trapper) was somewhat social when she started brooding (but not before) and remained social for the 11 weeks she survived the brood hatch (she also ate Cyclop-eeze nightly from a pipette after brooding and ate much of the brood time). One male was very active and was very punctual for dinner and a few others would interact. Sleazy (my last one) never left her den so there does seem to be a wide range of behaviors, the most common being reclusive.
 

sedna

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Let's just call her "Mama" for now and when the babies hatch out we'll add the species to the thread title. It'd be nice if she's a merc and I can raise the babies, but I really don't have a small (cycled) tank ready for that... I will certainly be ready with food!
 

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