Stress and egg laying.

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by sabo, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. sabo

    sabo Larval Mass Registered

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    Decided to go check out one of the better stores that deal in marine tanks. They have octos, which is great news. I asked the lady what breed they were and she said "reef octopus" :banghead: They had three in store, all looked the same breed. Fairly dark blue/blackish looking. Poor little buggers were floating around in plastic jars with holes in them :( One I saw had a clutch of eggs in the jar with it. I don't know how long it had been there, but I felt very sorry for the poor girl. Dunno how long they let them float around in the tanks whilst cooped up in the jars, but it didn't look like a happy life. :shock:

    I've noticed a lot of journals where egg laying seems to happen fairly quickly after getting octos home. Any thought on whether stress may play a part in this?
     
  2. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    That's a good question. There seems to be a trigger for egg-laying behavior at maturity, but I don't know if it's ever been studied whether stress has anything to do with it. I can make up an explanation either way: if the animal is stressed, it may want to lay eggs quickly, as it could be its last chance. On the other hand, if the animal is stressed, it might be better off waiting to lay eggs until conditions improve.

    I don't know if this has been studied at all, though, so anything I say, including the above, is pure conjecture.
     
  3. gjbarord

    gjbarord Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

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    I do not think there is any doubt that stressors play some role in premature egg laying, especially shipping stressors. I am unaware of the exact mechanisms behind this. Stress triggers something in the octopus that tells it to lay its eggs but why?

    Perhaps someone else will chime in.

    Greg
     
  4. gjbarord

    gjbarord Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

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    Wow Monty, you beat me by 2 minutes...

    I think that the parental care observed in octopus complicates stress and egg-laying. Why would an animal want to care for eggs in a 'stressful' environment?

    Greg
     
  5. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, what you lack in speed, you make up for in experience and knowledge... If I have a chance, I'll re-read Wells and Hanlon & Messenger on the optic gland and its influence on sexual maturity.

    Back to the original question, another hypothesis I'd considered is that it's easier for collectors to catch sexually mature octos, maybe because they're more out and about looking for potential mates, or that they go into pot traps as potential dens, so it might be more related to capture than stress.
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I have an alternate, albeit weak, thought. In the wild, there is constant concern with preditors. Once in an aquarium the octo may feel unthreatened or at least acknowledge a safety for the eggs in the new environment. An octo that can't get out of a jar, may understand that nothing dangerous can get in and she is going to stop eating anyway.

    This may sound odd but Trapper did not lay eggs until I put a barnacle in her aquarium. Serendipity seemed quite comfortable with a regular routine. Miss Broody found her original hatching place and never left (she was born in the tank actually mated in her hatchling barnacle). I just doesn't seem that stress was involved in any of the three I have had to brood. Yes, Greg, I know, "How can you tell?" is still a good question and I can only use my human transference of conditions and actions but it would explain your question of why would they.

    PS I keep meaning to ask, what have you found out about all your stored belongings?
     
  7. gjbarord

    gjbarord Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

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    D,

    About my belongings. Apparently my subconscious or some part of me served me well as my storage unit was up on a large hill and did not receive any damage at all.

    Greg
     
  8. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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    That's great Greg. Glad everything is ok. I'll bet you have a ton books in there.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the response. It is one more little thing that turned out OK that has been on my mind of late. I have meant to ask since you first posted the location of your stuff but have failed to remember when I see you posting in port. Note to self: store things on high ground :mrgreen:
     

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