For me it wasn't an actual encounter, but a book. I have always been intruiged by deep sea life. Richard Ellis' Monsters of the Sea was right up my alley. The passages on cephalopods were particularly mind-bending. If it weren't for that book I highly doubt I would have have pursued TONMO.com as a cephalopod site. (Here's the full story of how TONMO came to be.)
I meant to add my own after the intro but go distracted with the Bermuda Tentacles (made for TV) silliness. It was not even a cephalopod and had terrible (and inconsistent) effects.
Somewhere around the age of 13 during snorkeling our annual vacation trip to the Keys, my mom insisted we take home a "rock" she spotted in about 10' of water. Dad had to really struggle to get the thing into the boat. After being out on the water all day everyone was pretty whipped and I was mindlessly staring at the rock as we motored back to land when I noticed a white arm exploring the new yard ornament. In normal kid fashion I started delightedly screaming, OCTOPUS! OCTOPUS! and dashed to the rock looking for something to put it in to keep it wet. All I could find was my mask. Dad stopped the boat so I could fill it with water, I captured the little guy and covered it with my shirt. At best, I wanted to take it home (keep in mind this was before Instant Ocean or successful marine tanks), in reality, I was at least hoping to show it to the cute guy staying in the boatel (cabins/duplexes that used to be common). I still remember the pattern of the shirt I placed over the mask to keep it from being harmed by the sun. We were still half an hour or so from shore and after the excitement died down, I took my eyes off the covered mask for just a few seconds. When I next peeked under the shirt, devastation! The octopus was GONE! I searched the boat with tears in my eyes but found no trace of my prize.
The brain coral is still in my parents' front yard and I have a private hope that it was already dead before we removed it.
Almost 50 years later we know a lot more about the ocean, about not removing "rocks" and about keeping saltwater animals. I experimented with saltwater tanks off and on as the hobby and knowledge grew. While looking for live food for my seahorses, I stumbled across TONMO and discovered it was possible to keep an octopus in an aquarium. I marked the site, visited from time to time, inquired about availability from my primary supplier and ultimately set up a tank for Trapper. The rest is recorded in my journals as posts
Will add more later, but my first ceph encounter was a Ranger Rick article on Nautilus that I read in 5th grade. I had to do a report on an animal, and I chose Nautilus. I decided that I wanted to be a marine biologist and study Nautilus. I did eventually end up working with Dr. John Arnold for a short time in Hawaii and I got to open up some Nautilus eggs. I switched advisors and then ended up studying Sepia officinalis.
I saw my first live octopus in 1995 as it crawled out of some live rock. It might have been Octopus joubini- pale color, not especially flattering as it crawled around on our gloves, out of water. We let it go right away and it crawled right back into a rock. This was a good introduction to these animals, which focus so much energy on not being seen!
I am from Pa so we don't have real beaches here or the ocean so I love to have saltwater tanks and thats my paradise I slip away to every night. I have always had fresh and saltwater tanks over the years.
I was researching YouTube about tank set ups and on the different species of Octopus and stumbled upon a video that changed my life. I never thought they could be kept alive in a small home aquarium. Nor did I know that they had dwarf species.
My appologies if I'm not allowed to post or use the video, but every now and then I find myself stalking her page and watching in the wonder of it all like a giddy school girl.
The video that wowed me and challanged me to become an OctoMom
, I was reading your story then looked down at the video still and cracked up. Whenever someone likes, posts or subscribes to my collection I get to see my critters again and remember the animals. Sometimes I have to think hard on the names but not the personalities.
Anything public on YouTube (within context) can be posted like this (TONMO member or not). It is still streamed from YouTube and does not lose its authorship.
Well, it was a giant squid documentary, or something similar, when I was about 4-5. That was when I told my Dad that I wanted to go to college and had to get a PhD to research them. The giant squid was the animal I wanted to study all along... By chance, my undergrad college was in Galveston with the NRCC (I knew nothing of the NRCC before college) and I started working with cuttlefish (primarily), squid, octopus, and nautiluses while I was there. Then I was at a conference (8 years ago) and heard all about the unknowns about nautiluses and decided to go in that direction. Can't say I'm disappointed in the decision, although I do hope to get some giant squid type research under me at some point!
I'm neurobadger, and I'm a cephaloholic. (I also haven't been on here in a very long time, but I have been busy earning the first of two degrees; I just got my bachelor's degree, and now I start the process of securing a position in a PhD program.)
I've been hooked on the little squigglers ever since I came across literature discussing their intelligence at great length, and it's gotten me further into the wild and wonderful world of evolutionary developmental neuroscience; they're not as well-attended-to as other species that are more tractable in the lab, but someday I will, I promise, incorporate them in my research, because they are my absolute favorite model organism of all and they're the reason I got into evo devo neuro.
I've even got a second authorship on a publication about them, thanks to the ever-generous Robyn.