Rescued an octopus from an Asian Food Market today

Discussion in 'ID Requests' started by davelin315, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    Stopped into an Asian Food Market today and was saddened to see a bunch of octopuses in a tank, all dead with the exception of this one and possibly another one, but this one was moving around and looking very sad to be in there... it's different than buying a "don't encourage them" type of thing from a local fish store, as this is a food source and they're going to bring them in regardless... anyway, I couldn't help myself. It's currently in a 10 gallon tank as that's the best I could throw together with cold water and an ice probe to keep it cool until I figure out what it is (tank is woefully small for it, it's arms stretch across the tank and can curl up the wall while it's in the corner). My guess is that it's from the West Coast as it was in with abalone and I think that they are collected in California waters, but no idea. Here are some pictures that I sent to the National Zoo to get an ID from a friend there in the Invert House. The ones where it's just sitting there are from when the lights were on, the ones where it's stretched out are from when it was dark and I turned on the lights.

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  2. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Does it have any webbing? It looks like I can see a little webbing. Does it have eye-spots?
     
  3. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    No eye-spots, has webbing... still on moderator preview for the pictures so not sure when the rest will appear... there's a second set of photos that hasn't posted yet...
     
  4. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    Trying this a couple at a time...

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  5. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    A couple more...

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  6. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    Last photos.

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    It's still alive today, has better coloration, is much more responsive and is moving around. Seems like one of the arms has a modified tip so it's probably a male, but this could just be damage or me seeing things. Another arm also has some dead tissue at the end where it looks like the arm was chopped off or damaged and removed. Contemplating chopping the dead flesh off if this guy lives so that it can try to regenerate, but not sure if that will help or not. Looks like it's dead about 1 cm.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    DON'T chop off the "dead tissue". If it is what I think, and looks like a little string of dead meat, it is new growth!!!!! (I thought the same with my first new growth once). Look very closely at it and you should be able to almost see tiny suckers (you would in a week's time)

    I am still not 100% sure on species and it could be something we don't see much.
    The color and eyes are my drawback. Not vulgaris though. The other options run in the macropus family and I am thinking this is a better guess. We see some of the smaller ones from Indonesia but the larger ones are native to the Caribbean. The color usually shows much redder in photos but the constant display of spots and the eyes fit. Are the front four arms considerably larger than the back 4? Not aways a good ID because the arms get damaged so frequently. However, if all four front arms are significantly longer and thicker than all four back ones, macropus complex is likely a better direction.
     
  8. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    The dead tissue is not new growth on this guy. The arm was lopped off at some point in time and there's a bit of skin hanging there, but what has me thinking that this needs to be removed if it starts to recover is that the last 3 or 4 suckers on that arm are limp and the entire chunk is white and hangs loosely versus the rest of the arm which seems to move around. I won't touch it right now as it won't touch food (there are now 2 live emerald crabs in there with it). I'll try and see if the front arms are longer than the back arms. Amazingly with this guy, all but that one arm is intact and the other looks to be a modified tip which led me to believe that it's a male. I'll try and get more pictures later on of it. It continues to be more active and is moving around more, but I'm worried about the temperature and am still contemplating the move to a different tank in my workshop which will keep the temperature down (the workshop is not heated and hovers at around 50 degrees). The temp has climbed to 65 in there due to the ambient temperature, but the octopus seems fine still, I'm honestly more concerned about the waste in the water and it getting fouled if it continues to stay warmer. Clarification question, when you say thicker and longer, how much?

    Some of the photos turned out reddish, but those were the ones I didn't post because they were blurry and probably more due to the fact that there was a flash than anything else. I'll see if I can get a good quality video of it moving around so the arms can be seen. It crawled up the side of the glass this morning for my daughter and her friend and splayed its legs out in all directions, that would have been a great photo op.
     
  9. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    This photo from above seems to indicate that the front arms are much thicker than the back arms. You can see one arm that is curling up (I believe that might be the one with what I think may be dead tissue at the end) and then the arm that is curling down the pipe and towards the glass is much thinner than that. Plus, the front arms seem to span the entire length of the tank.

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  10. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    If it's any help, from the reading I've been doing some octopuses have alternating suckers and this one seems to have those. It is also lacking any dark circles around the suckers, something else I saw as reference for I believe vulgaris or briareus. The webbing is very small compared to some species, too. Looking through different pictures of O. macropus there are definitely some similarities, but one video I saw of an unknown species thought to be this was that the suckers were lined up versus alternating as this one does.
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The last picture is what started me thinking macropus. The arm difference is both length and thickness and the front arms would be 1.5 or better times the back ones. On my two (much smaller animal in this complex) the first pair were the largest the second pair only slightly thinner and shorter. The back 4 were (are, as Puddles is also most likely in this group but is not the same as Beldar). The eyes on this one kept reminding me of one other like it from Korea. I also looked up a post I remembered about octos for sale in a Korean market and they, too pose a good resembelance. Unfortunately, we never determined an ID.

    See what you can find on Octopus variabilis.
     
  12. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    I looked again at the arms and the front 2 are much larger than the back ones. They are at least 2x the size and stretch out more. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how well this one is doing now, seems like it's becoming lethargic again. I may move it to the shop just to get it into a colder area and reduce the tank temperature down some. I am not confident about how well it is doing now. It's a ghostly white color now, and although this is one of the colors that it can be, it is reminiscent of the ones I saw in the bottom of the tank at the store.

    It does have a specialized tip on one arm as well. Didn't want to take any more pictures and stress it out.
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    That grey white is definitely an undesired color and often comes just before death. Good luck with him. I was editing while you were typing so you likely missed my suggestion to look up Octopus variabilis (I could not find much). It seems to fit most of the observations, may be part of the Macropus complex and is heavily eaten.

    A very important part of trying to get it identified is to be sure the temperature is where it needs to be to give it the best chance. Generally speaking SLIGHTLY colder works better than slightly warmer but there are definite tollerances.
     
  14. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    If it is from Indonesia, you may want to go warmer rather than colder... also, if possible, you may want to leave it where it is so you don't stress it more than it already has been stressed.
     
  15. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    I dont know if i am just seeing things but i see a really faint eye spot. Possibly bimac? any one? you can see the spot in the last couple of photos.
     
  16. corw314

    corw314 Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Interesting! The last photo possibly. Any luck with food yet? I have been asking my dining director to order in a live octopus for me but so far he has not been able to, but being I now have Inkler it would not be a good time. I hope he makes it!
     
  17. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    My husband has been wanting to do the same thing although the few times we have gone to the Asian market, no live octopusus, a lot of live crabs and other stuff. I really hope your are successful. I am very interested to see how this plays out. Keeping my :fingerscrossed:
     
  18. davelin315

    davelin315 Wonderpus Registered

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    Unfortunately, it didn't make it through the night. It was losing color last night and this morning it was dead. My 2 year old cried. I did, however, get ahold of someone who spoke English there in the fish department and they informed me these are shipped from overseas. I am thinking that dwhatley is correct, that this is a variabilis, but the macropus is definitely a possibility, too. The octopus' chromatophores (I think I'm remembering the term correctly) opened up and exposed the coloration more when I lifted it out of the tank and it definitely had some red color with white dots on it. I examined the modified arm as well and it looked more like a variabilis arm in one identification paper I found than the other ones, but there was no picture of macropus. If this in fact variabilis, I'm very unsure of long term temperature issues. The variabilis looks to be endemic to the South China Sea (could be reading that incorrectly) which has pretty warm water temperatures but one paper I found on them states that they are a temperate species. No idea which direction to go with this one but I'm on my way to the store to see if they have more and to try and get a healthier specimen. I've had two octopuses before, an unknown that I never saw for 2 months before it died when a housesitter freaked out and unplugged my system without calling me and a blue ring that died after a couple of days. I have wanted to get another octopus for a long time and at this cost and with the knowledge that I am not going to encourage them to get more of these as they are going to do it anyway, I'm going to give it another try.
     
  19. Lmecher

    Lmecher Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    :goodbye: little :angelpus:You made a great erffort to save him, so sad that he didn't make it. Are you going to try again? Hope so, it's unbelievable that guy lived as long as he did considering what he must have gone through.
     
  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Macropus is the name of a group of octopuses and they come in many sizes (I have had two I believe are in the complex, Puddles is dwarf sized and Beldar small but not dwarf, Roy's latest is growing like a weed and is at least a medium sized animal). Norman's Cephalopods A World Guide suggests that variabilis may be a member of this complex and it appears to be the primary food octopus in Korea so that's likely as good as we are going to get on ID. For temperatures, I would suggest attempting the cooler end of the water temperatures around Korea as it is not likely an arctic animal (they are looking at harvesting some in the northern extremes though but most current food octos are still found in warmer waters). If you can extend your tentative social friendship with you market people, see if you can find what country exports their live food as well as what day of the week the shipments arrive. An interesting aspect of this animal, if it is variabilis is that it is a large egg species so there is some viability of tank raising a few young.

    Like some of our other members, I hope you will post what you find as this would be alternative source for octopuses if they survive and would not be pulling animals from the wild for our aquariums. One of the reasons I like using Tom for briareus is that they are crab trap by-catch that would be killed if we did not buy them. It is more an attitude than an impact thought but it has appeal.
     

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