Seasonal pattern to octopus deaths?

neurobadger

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#1
This is a purely for-poops-and-giggles question, but I see how there have been a whole lot of octopus deaths this month on the forum.

Is there a cyclical pattern concerning octopus survival, and if so, is it necessarily bound to water temperature or other water physical or chemical properties or could it be bound to other environmental cues?

Maybe it's just because of the shipping.
 

SabrinaR

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
Registered
#2
There are many problems this month which added to the loss of octopuses. First consider the extreme cold shipping for a warm water octopus. Up until recently many of us had misunderstandings regarding acclimation. There are currently talks about writing up an article of if, then, also... If this happens, then do this, and also this... kind of thing. Hopefully it will become a sticky and stay where we can all ref the info discussed.

Also one source of octopuses stated that he pulled his for sale because they laid eggs already so selling them would be unethical (good for us). Some could have already laid eggs in the ocean and then been caught so its possible that this already weakened state caused them to not fare well though shipping.

I did read in Popular Mechanics an article posted by another member about shipping. The long and the short of it is... when you post handle with care or this side up that normally equals shake like crazy and turn this way up when dropped off. Also they noted that packages were subjected to drops rated at the force of 6g's (kind of fast and scary for an octopus if you ask me). After reading that article I was surprised any octopuses arrived with out having inked in the bag and/or alive. Also consider the season. With shipping up almost 100% if not more from the average (online ordering and the normal shipping of Christmas presents) its not a surprise to me that shipping is harder. Food has been taking a lot longer so much so we have to use UPS or FEDEX to have it guaranteed on time.
 

SabrinaR

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
Registered
#4
Never a silly question... If you dont know and dont ask.. that would be silly.
 

CaptFish

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#5
OMG I wrote a huge post with my thoughts on this subject and I guess it never posted!!! I 'll post again soon, but not until at least tomorrow.

things to think about:
1) We get a lot of our octos from crab traps. crab season is Oct - May.
2) this has been a cold winter with poor shipping conditions.
3) it is not usually this bad.
 

sedna

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
Supporter
Registered
#6
I do think there is something to be said about the seasonality of these animals, though. It does make sense that there are times of the year when we're more likely to get younger ones and when we get more senescent ones.
 

mucktopus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
#7
This is definitely an interesting post, and worth noting these observations in the future when people seek information about buying (and shipping) an octopus during the winter. Many animals from the Pacific come into the US via LA so bad weather is not as likely to influence the safety of these animals. But when it comes to ordering online, it's certainly worth checking the 5-day weather forecast first.

And of course it's always interesting to ponder the seasonality of what comes into the trade in the first place (and when they mature). It can be a little window into what's taking place in the wild.
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Supporter
#8
In Otago Harbour we see a lot of very mature octopus wash up after the first frost of the year. The harbour is quite shallow (except for the shipping channel) and is subject to some pretty big shifts in temp (5C to 24C or 41F to 75.2F) so at least here yes we have seasonal deaths in octopus!

J
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
#10
To even start to answer this question, we must separate the biology from the logistics. Certainly many of the wild caught and sold species display some seasonality. For example looking at temperate species, O. mercatorus from the gulf breeds mostly in the early spring, bimacs from California in the late spring, H. fasciata in the Australian summer, etc. We know less about seasonality in tropical species, but at least some appear to have peak breeding times. On the logistical side, availability and health are certainly affected by weather. With fewer animals being caught, they are more likely to be held longer before shipping and bad weather causes delays in transit. With the proper use of heat packs, temperature should not be as much of an issue as it used to be, but the best packed octopus is going to suffer if it has to spend two days in Atlanta.

Roy
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#12
Mucktopus is right about considering the weather before having an octopus shipped. I delayed having a bimac shipped for a whole week until conditions improved.

Many people don't realize that their package (the octopus) isn't necessarily shipped directly. If I order an octopus from Florida, it will probably not go directly to Texas. It may go up the coast, to Tennessee or Chicago or even somewhere else, on its way to Texas. So you need to look at the national weather as well as the weather where it ships from and the destination weather.

My LFS tells me that winter is when the most losses occur in shipping fish. We've never tracked it with our octopuses, but it seems that the chances for encountering extreme weather or delays are greater then.

Nancy
 

SabrinaR

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
Registered
#14
I dont think people really think about the holidays when ordering... at least not most. They just assume it would be the same stress as any other time.
 

perke

O. bimaculoides
Registered
#15
Hmm have just crawled out from my phd rock to finally catch up what's going on on tonmo and found this thread. In public aquaria (at least for my company) there is seasonality, whether this is due to visitor numbers or the life cycle of the animal has yet to be determined (part of my vast research responsibilities). But Jean is right there is definitely a die off in otago harbour every year.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#16
SabrinaR;169622 said:
I dont think people really think about the holidays when ordering... at least not most. They just assume it would be the same stress as any other time.
Sadly, that is the case with a lot in the saltwater hobby. There is a lot of information out there (and here) about being careful ordering live animals during bad weather.
 

Lmecher

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
Registered
#17
I always look at at the weather when ordering. I choose shipping date with the highest temps. I also bring it to the attention of the supplier I am buying from. I request insulation and extra heaters. My request for extra heaters is not always granted. I have lost 2 octopuses and an order of fiddlers this season.
 

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