New octo is shy

Discussion in 'ID Requests' started by octoqueen, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    Hi everyone. I've posted before with some previous octopi (or octopuses :) questions, but its been a while. I moved to college and got involved in the marine lab up here. I am helping out with the oct tank and we just got one in three weeks ago. He is eating fine and seems to be doing well as far as my experience tells me. But he just won't come out. I know he is probably nocturnal, or there is a possibility that he is a juvenile, but does anyone have an idea on how maybe I can coax him out. I realize this is normal octopus behavior, but everyone in the lab is dying to see him. We also give tours occationally and I think the kids that come in would love to interact with him. I put some toys in there thinking maybe he would venture out, but it didn't work. Any ideas on how to get him to switch his schedule would be great.
    Thanks
    Kami
     
  2. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    Do you know what kind of octopus he is?
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Kami,

    As sk252006 mentions, determining the species will go a long way toward making suggestions. Can you describe it in terms of:

    Mantle length and girth (compare to an object like a grape, lemon,tangerine)
    Arm to Mantle Ratio (arms are x times longer then the mantle - the octopus bag like body after the eyes)
    What colors have you seen on the mantle? on the arms?
    Any distinctive markings (stipes, spots - particularly below the eyes or all over the body)
    Are the eyes large and set up on stalks?
    Do you know the body of water where it originated?
    Has anyone seen it out at night?

    The best way I have found to view a nocturnal (we'll assume that for the moment) is to make the ambient area dark and use a red light on the tank. True nocturnals (vs crepuscular or early AM and early PM foragers) are not prone to switching to daylight and IMO when you do see a nocturnal in daylight, it is a sign of senescence. My personal thought is that it hurts their eyes and as they age the eye sight is lost.
     
  4. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    We don't know what species he is, but I might be able to find out where he came from. Just looking at him briefly while in the bag and occationally during feeding, he is most often a brown/tan color with no specific markings such as eye spots. His mantle, I would say is three or four inches long. Arms are long, but robust, not thin or stringy. Most of the time the eyes are big and round, not pointy like some of the octopus pictures I've seen.
    As far as seeing him at night, I have used red lights with my octos at home, but here I don't have a key to get into the lab at night to observe him (I am asking my professor for one though). But every morning he is in a new spot, so I am assuming he is moving around at night.
    Hope this helps and thanks for the replies.
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Kami,
    Go to Forums->Journals and Photos and look at the top. You will see threads "stuck" at the top of the forum and the ones labeled List of Our Octopuses 20xx are the ones I want you to see. Open one of the lists and pick a species then click on the species name and view the photographs. There are quite a few octos but only a few species to examine. With that sized mantle and tan coloration, we have very few. Look especially at our only O.vulgaris, el Diablo as the vulgaris would fit your description and are crepuscular (and are one of the few that may acclimate to mimized light, el Diablo is quite diurnal). Also, DaveLin also kept a series of animals found at an Asian market that we suspect are from Korea that would match your description.

    An arm to mantle ratio would be helpful rather than long :grin: and inch sizes have been stated sooooo far off that a comparison to a fruit or ball (coins are often used but don't help with girth) tends to be more accurate, especially when going from memory.

    Most of the ones we keep are from the Caribbean with a few from Indonesia so if this one is a Pacific animal or imported from elsewhere, we are unlikely to have pictures. If you find a photo of one that might match, read the journals to see if the behavior is similar and about how long it took the octopus to become comfortable with humans.
     
  6. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    I guess it could be O. vulgaris, though it is much darker and has slightly longer arms compared to the mantle size. It also bears some general similarity to Puddles and Mr. Squiggles, but I really haven't got a good enough look at it to be sure. Those two caught my eye because we got ours from Live Aquaria and were told it came from Indonesia.
    I would say mantle size is about equal to a tangerine.
    Hope this helps and thanks,
    kami
     
  7. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    From Live Aquaria it is almost assured not to be O. vulgaris but the mantle size has me wrinkling my brow. Robust arms are not typical of A. aculeatus and Puddles was a fairly small Macropus (small lemon sized mantle at full adult). The Macropus, however, would not show a gold color and only the front 4 arms have much thickness or length.

    How long has it been in the aquarium?
     
  9. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    Looking at the pictures again, I agree with you. I think it was mostly the brownish color that caught my eye. But I have Dunlop and King's ceph book in front of me and on pages 27 and 154 there are some O. vulgaris that look very similar to mine, just bigger. Is O. vulgaris indigenous to Indonesia?
    I managed to get into the lab last night and stayed for about an hour after closing. He never ventured out, even with all the lights off, which surprised me. This morning he wasn't interested in any food either. Maybe I stressed him out by looking at him last night? I thought about putting some black trash bags on the sides of the tank. Do you think this would make him more apt to venture out during the day?
     
  10. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    CaptFish,
    Not really.
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    O. vulgaris in slightly varying forms is indigenous to the world. It has come to be a complex name more than a specific species because of slight differences that are not fully explored and it is possible to have received an unusual catch from Live Aquaria. Alternately, they list, but rarely have Caribbean octopuses and their Diver's Den octos have been caught elsewhere. Maya was an O.hummelincki - I think - and likely Caribbean but may have been slightly different from the ones I have had from the FL Keys but this "species" is a bit of an anomaly, the tapered arms and eyespot being the common factor.

    At three weeks, I would expect a diurnal to be seen but if it is a very young animal, perhaps not. From my limited experience with young juveniles, they stay reclusive until they reach and a age or size that gives them confidence so altering the lighting may not have any effect if this is the case. An attempt at a picture when you feed next might help. You might try reducing overhead lighting rather than side lighting during the day.
     
  12. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    Thanks. I'll see what I can do.
     
  13. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    Help ID???

    Hey everyone. I had posted a couple of weeks ago trying to get an idea as to the species of octopus my lab just got. I just now got some pictures. He randomly decided to come out one day. Sorry the photos aren't the best. But maybe one of you could help identify him?
    Thanks,
    octoqueen
     

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  14. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    How big is its mantle? Is it active at day or night? Does it have webbing between its arms? What is the arm to mantle length ratio?From what I can see, it looks like it has really long skinny arms. Does it have any display pattern (like a skunk stripe)? Can it make the posterior part of its mantle pointy? Any observed behaviors?
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Kami,
    I combined the two threads so that all the information is together. If I am correctly guaging the size and noticing the speckles, my guess is Abdopus abaculus. It is my understanding (I have not kept or seen one personally) that it looks like A. aculeatus but is much smaller (mantle at 3 cm and arms to 18cm where aculeatus maxes out at 6 cm mantle and 30 cm arms) and we do see them come in from Live Aquaria on a rare occassion.
     
  16. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    He must be active at night, as I hardly ever see him out during the day. He can make his mantle pointy, but mostly its rounded. The only behaviors I have see is the typical bobbing of the head when I am lucky enough to see him take the shrimp from my stick.
     
  17. octoqueen

    octoqueen Blue Ring Registered

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    Actually I looked at pictures of both these species and it looks nearly identicle to A. aculeatus. A. abaculus was a little too stuby. The pics of A. aculeatus matched the typical color I have seen him display as well as some of the postures. Thanks a bunch for helping.
    kami
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Photos can be very deceiving and the first ones I noted on Google don't look at all like the animal (par for octopuses) that I mentioned. Look at these photos on TONMO by Dr. Roy Caldwell for a more typical look. As I understand postings, it would be very difficult to determine the difference between and adult A. abaculus and a young A. aculeatus visually. Look for photos taken by either Dr. Roy L. Caldwell (TONMO staff Neogonodactylus) or Dr. Christine Huffard (TONMO staff Mucktopus) for your best bet on accurate species representation.
     
  19. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    On the plus side if shes got a young A. aculeatus then maybe it will live longer than a few months. Good luck and please keep us posted. Plus if its a baby that would explain the shy behavior I think.
     

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