New baby, advice on Callistoctopus Luteus- Starry Night Octo?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by MissPH, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. MissPH

    MissPH Cuttlefish Registered

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    Hello all,

    2 weeks ago I acquired my first octopus, Orion. ID I was given is a Callistoctopus Luteus or Starry Night octopus, which seems accurate to me after researching the species as far as I can online (which admittedly isn't much! There is a disappointing amount of information available). He certainly looks just like the photos, anyway.

    He is a beautiful specimen and I am fascinated with the little guy. He interacted with me a lot between about 5 and 8-9 days in the tank but more recently has become very coy and shies away from me when I look through the glass. Hoping this is just because he is still settling in!

    Anyway, I would be interested to hear from anybody with experience keeping this species (I can find literally nothing about keeping them in captivity) and any advice on early feeding. He has decimated a crab so far but they are very difficult for me to get hold of reliably and regularly. Ideally I wanted to have him on a diet primarily of thawed frozen but with live crabs and shrimp as the occasional treat. He has taken a couple of thawed mussels but doesn't seem too keen on them. I have tried him with frozen krill a couple of times too but he never shows interest in it.. I got 2 nice fat hermit crabs for his xmas dinner he doesn't seem fussed about either (judging by the fact they are still alive, anyway).

    I attempted offering him a little food on a stick and he gently touched it then slinked off and hid for the rest of the night. I think I may be rushing things with him but I am anxious to make sure he is well fed and healthy.

    Pictures of him attached :)



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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Use the search in the upper right corner for Macropus and check the "Search Titles Only" checkbox. This is most likely the same animal we have been calling Macropus without a known species. We have seen it given the luteus species but the primary book we use (Mark Norman's Cephalopods a World Guide) describes luteus as a far larger animal habing 13 cm (~5") mantle and 80 cm (~24") arms. The little guys we have received typically have a mantle of about 8 cm (3") and 30 cm (12") arms. They are a nocturnal species and you will likely start noticing a switch to night time activity soon. There appears to have been a recent genome sequencing for Callistoctopus luteus (and recent general taxon work on the genus ) but I don't find a description to confirm or deny the common naming vs the books description.

    I often comment that the first two weeks of adjusting (for any octopus) will likely show a very different behavior (often appearing friendlier and more interactive) than what you will see after the animal fully acclimates. You will likely want to acquire a red light (which can be left on 24/7) for viewing as it readjusts to night life.

    LOL, you have the dubious honor of being the first to have been bitten (thanks for the report) by this species :grin: and have completed a recorded bite record for every species we commonly keep (I believe this was the last hold out). To be fair, acclimation is a very traumatic time for both keeper and octopus and contact should (but is not always possible) be completely avoided until the animal is familiar with both living in an aquarium and its human keeper. Most of our scientists will highly suggest never making contact, our keepers, not so much (as will be clear in some of my videos):oops:

    I heavily recommend washing and using an antibiotic cream on ANY small hand cuts EVERY time you put your hands in the tank (this includes little things like a split cuticle). We have had at least two people that required medical treatment and heavy antibiotics for infections without being bitten. The ocean is full of bacteria and our tanks even more so in concentrated amounts. This may not have helped with a puncture wound and injected venom but is something we don't likely mention often enough.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
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  3. MissPH

    MissPH Cuttlefish Registered

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    Thank you very much for the reply. Despite all my reading into octopus keeping before I went ahead and bought one I wasn't aware that their interaction and perceived friendliness often declined as they acclimatised. That's disappointing to hear, interacting with this little guy has been an amazing experience. I will trawl through the threads about Macropus today and see what I can find.

    Regarding lighting; unfortunately I don't have the option of having red lights on 24/7 as I have a few corals which need a good deal of light during the day. I do have some blue lights fitted as well which I use to create a dawn and a dusk. Red lights I am in the process of buying to put in for night time viewing. The first time he came out (as you can see in the video) it was in full light but he hasn't done that again since (that was day 5).

    I am a little concerned about the little guy at the moment - it's the 2 week mark now and the last 2 days he hasn't come out at all while I have been around, and the last 2 times he was out he seemed very skittish. I already mentioned when I tried to feed him with mussel on a skewer, and after that he was watching me from the tank (tank lights off, room lights on) as I sat on the sofa but when I looked back at him he would change his behaviour and slope off under a rock. I hope that he isn't afraid of the big nasty giant who is always coming and cleaning his den while he is asleep! I am unsure if he is feeding as the mussels I am leaving in overnight to eat are nibbled but not completely eaten and I don't know if this is the work of the hermit crabs or Orion..

    One more thing I forgot to mention is has anybody observed behaviour where an octo (not necessarily this species) elongates his head and points it upwards, then moves it up and down? He does this a lot when I see him, and usually couples it with changing his colouration to display a white stripe along his mantle. I have a video of him doing it here:



    I asked at the aquarium where I bought him and they suggested he may be mimicing a predator - an eel perhaps? Any thoughts?
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    After they acclimate, it is often possible to revisit that initial friendliness and interaction (though not for as long a time). It does take patience and persistence and will be different but seems to be more of a true interaction when it is revisited.

    The elongated mantle we have come to call the "Cone Head" look and I mentioned it in my TONMO presentation as a feature that you cannot use to ID an octopus as they will all show the shape (often with a "skunk stripe"). TL is the same species as Orion, TR is an Abdopus aculeatus, BL is Octopus hummelincki and BR, Octopus bimaculoides. Unfortunately we don't have a definitive "mood" for when it is seen but anecdotally, it appears to be shown most often when they are first introduced to a tank (I believe the aculeatus is in situ and yes, the Macropus (sp) can display fluorescent green) so I would take it as a "disturbed" or disguised behavior.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  5. MissPH

    MissPH Cuttlefish Registered

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    I had a good look through previous threads last night and found a few more examples of the same cone was and "skunk stripe", very interesting! Thanks for all the info. I really hope he does revisit his interactive behviour later one once he is settled. I'm not sure how to help with this process as I haven't seen him up and about at night while I have been awake for a few days now. Trying to coax him out with a treat on a skewer before i go to bed hasn't been working.. I will keep trying!
     
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