[Octopus]: Margay - O. Burryi

DWhatley

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We waited for good weather to ship my new guy and during the delay, Kara and Philipp found a surprise for me. I knew it was coming but I did not have a preview photo. Kara thought vulgaris as it reminded her of LittleBit and I believe she was correct. I am ecstatic as I did not expect to have the opportunity for another vulgaris starting from this size. Neither octo would accept food in their acclimation chamber and this one treated the small crab as an annoyance. I was concerned because Kara said both of these were little pigs. This one was less stressed than the briareus but it has odd markings on the eyes that remind me of the parasites we see on shore shrimp some years. Octopuses are not known for hosting external parasites (there are some that will get into their gills but are noted as undetectable during life and found in necropsy). I am hoping it is some kind of scar tissue as it does not look like an any of the abrasion or cuts I have seen and does not look infected). You can see the bumps fairly clearly in the first photo if you enlarge it (apologies for the color, new camera). If anyone recognizes the gray pepper looking bumps please comment.




By evening, it begrudgingly accepted a small piece of shrimp on a stick. It never pushed the shrimp away but it did not hungerly grab it either. I touched the shrimp to its suckers and the suckers touching attached but there was no move to bring it under the webbing until I removed the stick and then the motion was very casual. I did notice that he had already eaten the crab he had ignored earlier though. He (I have no idea on sex at this point) took another piece of shrimp tonight in the same fashion, never rejecting it but trying very hard not to show interest. It has chosen a first den but tends to sit just outside it after 6:00 PM (or so). I was telling Neal to look into a specific hole and he looked at me with a sly grin and pointed out that the animal was sitting in plain sight just in front of where I was telling him to look :oops:.




I am so hoping the eye bumps are not a serious problem as I am already excited about this one and sat trying to introduce myself for over an hour. He never went back into his den and would show curiosity about my fingers on the glass. He put on quite a display pattern show in brown and white, perhaps not rivaling Richard and Roy's beauty but impressive all the same. Twice he extended an arm toward my fingers, not quite touching the glass and swept the sand until he found something to bring back (small shells). I am not sure if this was a form of claiming the property or something closer to the attitude of his eating (I'm interested but I don't want you to know that). Yes, I know, I am anthropomorphizing but it better describes the scene.


EDIT: The "bumps" turned out to be her "horns". The circles remained visible as she grew even when the horns are not displayed. It is likely an identifying factor and I have changed her species to O. burryi based upon the descriptions in this paper http://www.tonmo.com/forums/forum/c...es-by-family/octopodidae/13486-octopus-burryi.
 

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DWhatley

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Fun stuff. Margay (still not fully commited but he reminded me of an ocelot while I was watching him making colors at me. I did not like Babou and Dali or Sal were just too far a along the rabbit trail of names :sagrin:).

We have only seen him in or (more often than in) sitting just outside his den. He is eating well but does not seem to explore (we assumed the crab carcass was a result of the crab wandering to him). Tonight he did something very encouraging. I set up our vitamins along the ledge at the end of his aquarium at the far end from his den (about 4' away). Doing this at supper, I caught the flick of an arm through the LR. Much to my delight he was hunting in the rock there. I am no sure if he came over because I was there and he was hungry or if I just happened to go near when he finally decided to explore (I am thinking the former). In any case we immediately fed him to reinforce the connection. He continued to explore the far end of his home for better than 20 minutes so I am getting more comfortable with his acceptance of his new home.
 

DWhatley

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:oops: Margay is GROWING and doing well but have not taken a lot of pictures as he/she is JUST starting to come out while we are in the room. We can always see him (for an arbitrary and hopeful call. I have seen no signs of a hectocotylus but the behavior is very different from LittleBit, our female) but photos of an octo sitting in or next to a den are a bit boring. He will not quite take shrimp from my fingers yet but tonight needed no coaxing to take food from a stick and last night was willing to come out into the open for a fiddler (both firsts). He also ventured over to the far side of the tank tonight so I expect it won't be long before he trusts us (that and the fact that he has eaten ALL the snails in his tank - hermits are still alive). He is also camera shy and trys to be invisible when he sees the camera (I don't use a flash so it is just the contraption - camera on a tripod - that he has to learn to accept). All in due time, patience is the number one word when taking on an octo as a pet.
 

DWhatley

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I was goaded into dumping the camera tonight and found I did have a couple of pictures from Margay's first venture out while we were near by. Tonight he appears to have move his den to an odd out cropping at the opposite side of the tank from his first home (very closer where the Dark coloration photo was taken, white display is in his original den). It is a bit peculiar because the new den is well off the bottom substrate and his first was on the glass bottom. I have a theory :roll: about their decisions to move their dens that is basically a house cleaning arrangement with the clean-up crew they don't eat. We first saw something that suggested this with a female mercatoris who virtually never left her den once released to the tank (she was tank hatched). One day she crawled out of her barnacle, down to the next level, a serpent star crawled in, cleaned up, left and she returned. Ever since, I have wondered if this is typical.

 

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DWhatley

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Picture #2 is pretty much his normal sleeping posture and position. He moved back to the same den the next day so I am continuing to have faith in my house-cleaning concept. I hand fed him last night and like the other attempt, he had to be encouraged to feel the food. This time though he did reach up and wrap an arm around my finger. This initial voluntary touching was different than other octos in that he did not pull and I really could not feel his arm. When I gently tugged on my finger, I was surprised to find that he had sucker pressure applied and waited until he release me on his own. LittleBit was the only animal I have had that left sucker "hickeys". So far, Margay does not grab with much pressure.
 

sirreal

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very nice. I swear my next tank will be only 18" deep and no canopy or a very short canopy. these tall tanks are hard to reach the bottom. I have to go buy some more long tongs again. My brother confiscated my other set along with my 125 gal FW tank and filters several rare plecos, my good flow pumps. Damm I have to go get my stuff back lol.
I really want to be able to touch my octos. I do have to admit when I had my vulgaris I touched him a lot but as ha got big he seemed to want to wrap my hole hand up. that scared me a bit and I stoped letting him touch me more then just one arm. I know he could do some damage but really how much could he do. Do you think eather of the 2 I have now could do any real damage. Remember I am a transmission guy and my hands are tough and most of the time all cut up. lol I miss having nice hands
I have a 150 at home and I was going to do another reef, but now that my wife is really getting into the octos I think might get a vulgaris again.
 

DWhatley

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:thumbsup:
now that my wife is really getting into the octos
I have come to the same conclusion on having tanks no deeper than 24" because of my reach. I have a 4' and a 3' tank and get the uglies on cleaning day!

About your hand ... Saltwater tanks are prone to nasties that can cause serious infection. Please make a habit of washing your hands after you put them in the tank (no soap when you rinse them before putting them in the tank though) AND putting an antibiotic cream on any little nicks. We have already had two members go to the hospital with minor cuts that became infected so the request is more than hearsay.

How bad can it be? As with all leading questions the answer is, it depends. Generally speaking, the venom is bee stingish. As with bee stings, different people have different physical reactions. The Caribbeans tend (as in the reports we have show little to no problems) to be less impactive with their bites than the Pacifics. It is wise to keep fingers away from the beak area and not to smell like food when interacting. For years we did not have a keeper report a bite from O. briareus until one member in Canada confused his fingers with the shrimp he was feeding. The mercs have not broken skin when they have bitten. Vulgaris has not reported in but we see fewer of them. They have potential for a harder bite but act more aggressive than the others and keepers tend to be more cautious. We do have reports of bites and envenomation from the Pacific animals and you will enjoy reading some of the encounters here (be sure to think of the movie Airplane when you read Roy's post :sagrin:) .
 

Teacher Kim

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I just love the airplane story!! I didn't realize you had gotten a vulgaris! I'm trying to learn a little more about the species that could possibly show up on my doorstep! Isn't Vulgaris one of the bigger species for the home aquarium? Have you heard much about them showing up lately? Also, what would be the smallest tank size that would be acceptable for one? Would a 125 long work? I have one up and running that I could easily switch over to an octo tank. Also, my LFS has an old fashioned long 165 that I have asked for a price on. If a 125 is too small, what about this 165?

I figure that I might as well get one that will hold a larger species also, in case I wind up with one by "accident" one day!:sagrin:
 

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