Spike - O. Burryi

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by suboc, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    I was wondering if any one of you can ID this littleguy for me. It was captured during the day on a jetty in South Padre Island TX. Its abou the size of nickle and has been eating blue leg hermits and ghost shrimp. If you need better pictures let me know. This is my first ceph and am keeping it in a critter keeper in my 210 reef untill i determine species, so i can set up the proper size tank for it.
     

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Better pictures would be most helpful if you can get them. Given the location and what I can see of the arms, I will GUESS O. mercatoris but the photos do not show enough to make a well educated guess.

    Mercs should have an arm:mantle ratio of 2-2.5 : 1 (arms twice the mantle size but not much longer). They are nocturnal, will appear red/reddish brown or white (sometimes red with white markings), are often seen with one or two arms thrown back between the eyes and over the head and mantle. The show very little skin texture but sometimes you will see small cirri below the eyes.

    I think this link will display a group of mercs from our gallery (if not click on the gallery link in the top menu and search mercatoris). We have not seen too many of these little guys in the last couple of years but if you go to the top of the Journals and Photos forum and click on one of the List of Our Octopuses 20xx stickies between 2008 and 2010 then search (using your browser) for mercatoris, you should find journals linked by the names.
     
  3. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    Heres the best i could do with my camera, and it didnt want to cooperate. I thank you for your help.
    Note the stomatella under the container in the second picture, should give you a bit of a size reference.
     

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  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Humm, the color markings would be odd for a merc but I have never put one on black gravel :grin:. The mantle looks twice the width I would expect, the green is not normal but I have seen blue on a merc once, there are more cirri than mercs usually show but they are very low, and the webbing looks too deep as well. However the photo angle may forshorten the mantle and account for the appearance of the webbing.

    I do think it is a dwarf species and likely nocturnal but am less inclined to think merc from these last photos. Keep taking photos and watching colors and skin texture. I had an absolutely lovely animal that was a diurnal dwarf and was never clear on its species. See what photos your can find for O. burryi (other than Monty's as that ID is not strong).

    OK, my best guess is O. burryi. There are not a lot of pictures but it would be local to your area and fit the second set of pictures well. Here is one photo I did find.

    Here are two papers I found while trying to ID Monty. When you go to the linked abstracts, click on the PDF icon. They are free to view.

    If Monty WAS O. burryi (and I am inclinded to think so, especially after rereading the abstract that mentions a poorly defined eyespot - except his was only poorly defined most of the time, at others it was quite clear :grin:), this is an excellent octopus for the home aquarium and I would like to have others. It works well in a 35 - 40 gallon tank (possibly smaller but he used all of his tank but never attempted escape (IMe escape attempts are often because a tank is too small). Patterning and colors were exceptional for a dwarf and he was diurnal. The paper mentions burying but Monty lived in the LR and I never saw him attempt to bury.
     
  5. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    From what info that ive found on that species, I belive you are correct. But every thing i found says that O. Burryi max size is 1.6 feet, Is this a normal size for a dwarf?
     
  6. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    Woops i was wrong about that size it apears to only get 40 mm
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Check where you found the measurements and see HOW they measured. The best method is to measures the arms and the mantle (behind the eyes to the tip of the body sack) but often the numbers are given arm tip to arm tip. We have encouraged final photos to help with measuring (laying the dead animal on a flat surface next to a ruler). This will be somewhat smaller than when they are alive (if they lived a full life, they will have become a bit smaller during their final fast) but live measurements can vary excessively, especially with arm length and for smaller animals. My guess is that the 16 inch measurement is arm tip to arm tip, making the arm length about 7". Unfortunately, I did not take a final photo of Monty (no clue as to why, likely sadness in his passing) but I would guess that his arms were about 6 inches. Also keep in mind that even octopuses from the same brood, in the same environment can vary greatly in size and this one has not been studied very much.

    In additon to the eyespot not matching the description (his eyespot was not frequently visible and in situ observations might never see it ) I referenced, Monty's papaillae were branchy and not bumps but this again can be a variation not seen in situ but observable in an aquarium.
     
  8. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    Do you think size and color may very depending on locale?
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    For size, yes and no. As I mentioned, animals from the same brood, living close to where they hatch (or in an aquarium) can be quite different in ultimate size. The yes is because it is believed that copious quantities of food, especially early in life, may impact ultimate size and growth rate (studies for growing octos as food) but you will still see size large variances among the individuals.

    For color, not likely. I have noticed that the number of patterns changes after they have been in an aquarium for awhile (and more so as they age with little patterning in senescence). You need to remember that the current environment WILL effect color (where you have a black bottom, you might notice that Monty would turn white when out over his white sand bottom). I have been trying to come up with ways to add color in a natural looking environment without putting in objects that are harmful for this reason. For instance, I know Octavia can turn yellow (from her first in situ photo) but I have nothing in the tank to promote that color and have not seen my other O. hummelincki show it. I have also seen very young octos of numerous species turn very a true red (not brown red) but not after they are a few months old.

    Flip through Monty's pictures, you will see a number of colors and patterns but those are based upon immediate surroundings not where it was raised. A recent study suggests that they choose a particular object to resemble and not the general environment so placing distinctive rocks (I have seen coraline algae help show purple) in the tank may provide a wider range of coloration.
     
  10. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    Hey D I was able to get some better pictures as he/she becomes more used to me. These came out pretty good. Its coming out more and taking frozen food.
     

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  11. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    As for monty, he would almost look like O. rubescens to me.
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Time to attempt determining sex then I think. As it goes about its daily business, try to observe the third arm, clockwise, aligning your eyes with its eyes. If it keeps that arm curled, particularly the tip, then it is a male. Here is a thread with photos of what you are trying to see. We have no good non-invasive way to determine females, other than the lack of the male's specialized arm.
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Monty was definitely not a ruby. Besides being found in the Gulf, he really did not look like the videos I have seen of O. rubescens (I have not seen a live one in person). He was darn near perfect for an aquarium animal if not a burryi and happened to be large egged but he was just a lucky find and the chances of even seeing another are not high since he is the first to show up on TONMO. With the waters changing though, you just never know.

    Any name yet?

    May I move the thread to journals?
     
  14. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    Do you Think a biocube 29 would be good enough? Set up with some corals and a couple chromis.
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I strongly advise against any fish, including cycling. Fish and octos don't mix. Chromis are a royal pain to remove. With good LR you can add enough clean up crew and feed the tank without using fish. An alternate would be to put a frozen shrimp in the tank with the LR to create a good ammonia spike but with good LR, you don't even need to do that (you do have to over feed the tank to grow the bacteria).

    I have not tried a cube with an octo but our 25 nano would have been too small (it is square but part is taken up with filtration). Monty's LR spanned 27" and the tank 36" and he used all of it but I would not have used a larger tank. Are you planning on a sump? Without a sump I would say it was too small for water volume. Monty's 39 only had a 15 gallon sump (10 usable) and water quality was not a problem but I would not have wanted less.
     
  16. suboc

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    Its going to be plumbed in to my 210's sump, that has been set up for over a year. Water quality for me will not be an issue.
     
  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I took a look at the biocube and it looks a lot like our nano (one of the old original nano cubes). If you have kept this kind of tank and like it, my comments are not of value but if you have never had one I would suggest looking at something without filtration and without a fixed hood, more of the plain cube style with a glass top and drilling it (you will not likely be able to drill the nano - fortunately we discovered this before destroying it :roll: but not before trying to drill it). The newer hoods may be better but I hated ours. We have eliminated the hood in favor of an all glass top (made as a replacement for our unit) and a combination metal halide/small pc that sits on top with legs that catch the outer rim. On ours (keep in mind it is one of the originals and this may well have changed) the return to the small sump is inadequate and it does not filter out much. I think some of the newer versions may have a much wider return. Lastly, the design is asking for an octo to escape to the sump area. It is a nice dark place to hide. I have never kept an octo in ours and it would only be size suitable for a dwarf (29 is iffy) but at least one keeper did find their nocturnal octo in the sump area. It may be worth getting the refugium light and leaving it on 24/7 to prevent this attaction.

    IMO, if you want to try a cube (and I would like to try one eventually) think about a 40 gallon (24" x 24") for enough swimming room and skip the all in one stuff in favor of your existing sump.
     
  18. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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  19. suboc

    suboc Cuttlefish Registered

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    My little ceph is growing like crazy. It is very impressive at the rate they grow. I bet hes tripled in size since I got him. heres a couple pics, he was moving pretty quick so one out in the one out in the open is kinda fuzzy, he is very camera shy but will feed regulary during the day if tempted with a hermit crab. Ive never seen it out while red lights are on.
     

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  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Beautiful little guy! Wish you would post more photos :grin:
     

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