Octo Burrowing? Pack rat behavior

Discussion in 'Behavior and Intelligence' started by ScarletBegonias, May 5, 2009.

  1. ScarletBegonias

    ScarletBegonias Larval Mass Registered

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    Hello,

    I've had Sgt. Pepper, a long arm Octo from Bali, for about 3 months now. He has a personality for sure (not that I knew exactly what to expect - He's my first octo!).

    When he can't catch a monkey shrimp or ghost shrimp I throw in there he starts flashing all different shades of brown and black and then repeatedly attacks rocks out of fury!

    Also, he lives in this shell I found for him and always sticks his whole body in there with just two little eyes popping up. He especially loves to go in there after he eats. Sometimes he looks ridiculous in there because after he eats two shrimp he can't fit most of his body in the shell!

    Anyway, I also feed him tiny hermit crabs and i recently noticed that he's been collecting the tiny shells and keeping them in his house! When he goes into the big shell he has to climb over and through all of these little hermit crab shells and then he will cover himself with shells as well. Now all I can see from the top of the big shell is a bunch of little shells (and sometimes his eye when he pokes out to take a peek). I was just wondering if this burrowing is typical octo behavior, does it make him feel safe in there? Or is he just a packrat like his owner :tongue:

    Here's a pic of Sgt Pepper in his shell before he started his collection:
    [​IMG]

    And here's his glamour shot:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Many of our octopuses rearrange their tanks but hording of loose shells may suggest prebrooding behavior.
     
  3. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

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    Are you sure this is a male. This Abdopus aculeatus in the photo appears to be a female and the behavior you describe often precedes egg laying and brooding. Usually the female will collect gravel, rubble and shells from around the tank and completely buries herself.

    Roy
     
  4. ScarletBegonias

    ScarletBegonias Larval Mass Registered

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    Thank you!! I actually didn't know the exact species or sex of my octo... you think I can still call her Sgt. Pepper? :smile:

    Also.. how can you tell she's a she?
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The name is not a problem as we often miss guess (we decided if SueNami turned out to be male - third right arm was bitten off before she came) then we would just have "a boy named Sue" :wink:

    Unfortunately there is more to this diagnosis than deciding on feminizing the name and if you are not aware of what comes next, I am so sorry to have to be the one to explain. If she is preparing to brood, she will shortly lock herself into her den, stop eating and lay her clutch. Aculeatus is a small egged species so there is no hope (currently) of the hatchlings surviving (we all try when it happens though). The saddest part is that the mother will remain in her den and not interact and then die shortly after the young hatch (usually within a day or two, if you can convince her to eat, she may survive a little longer but few brooding females can be coaxed into eating).

    This is the unfortunate part of receiving a female. She as quite likely mated and stored the sperm until now so you will get to see lots of little tiny octos between 3 and 4 weeks after she baracades herself. Success with the large egged species has been minimal but there has been no success (baring a few Vulgaris hatchlings at a couple of major research facilities). If you want to give the impossible a shot, look on the octo care forum and some of the journals for ideas and some of the things others have tried.
     
  6. TDean

    TDean Cuttlefish Registered

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    dwhatley, SueNami missing the 3rd right arm could be an indication that is a male. Males for some species of octopus will have a normal third right arm until they mature and then they will drop there arm to grow there reproductive one. But that would not explain it missing two arms.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    TDean,

    No, SueNami is briareus and most likely female (the males of this species protect that arm and don't go poking it into ... LR :sly:). I suspect that all three arms were amputated at the same time. It appears that an inch every 3 weeks is to be expected in this species (at least twice as fast as the regrowth on Octane - hummelincki - who has far shorter arms) and there was not even a suggestion of new growth when she arrived. I suspect she was a crab trap hitchhiker because of the multiple amputations. A single crab or moray would not likely take three but possibly a grouper could do that much damage. I suspect a crab trap because she has been totally recluse until there was some growth and would think her hard to catch if this was her behavior in the wild.
     
  8. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

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    Somewhere on this site I posted a photo of a male and female A. aculeatus on the front glass of their aquarium. You can see that the male has very enlarged suckers at the base of its arms when compared to the female. This is a quick and dirty way to sex this species. Better yet, look for the spermatophoral grove on the third right hectocotylized arm.

    Roy
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Roy,
    I have seen the enlarged suckers on the hummelincki and mercatoris (I have not raised an aculeatus) and identified the lack of use and rolled up carry of the hectocotylized arm but I have never been able to identify that groove that you and Mucktopus mention as quite visible! Whether is it less visible on the two male species I have kept or I am just looking at the arm wrong, I can't say. :hmm:

    There is enough of the third right arm on the briareus to look though and when she starts staying out longer I will try again to see if I can detect a groove (although I really think SueNami is female).
     
  10. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

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    I've posted a photo of A. aculeatus mating in which the grove is visible. It should be up soon.

    Roy
     
  11. ScarletBegonias

    ScarletBegonias Larval Mass Registered

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    Here's a pic of her/him against the glass...

    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure if you guys can tell any more from there. Right now she's not just hiding in the shell and not coming out, she just goes in there and puts a bunch of shells on top of her after she eats or whenever she's not swimming around. She's actually really active and out most of the day.
     

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