[Octopus]: Trapper - O.mercatoris

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by DWhatley, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    We have our first octo! I THINK his name will be Trapper (family consent still needed) after the nick name of the crabber that collected him. He was a special request from the diver/collector who's site I webmaster and I think he/she is perfect! We are hoping Trapper is a Briarius, are almost certain he is not a mercatoris and hope he is not a Vulgaris (tank size could be a problem).

    He shipped overnight FedEx after spending the weekend in his little jar in FL (I am in GA). I opted to pick him up at the local FedEx rather than have them deliver and all went well. He was relaxed white all through acclimation and only showed color when I put his little cup in the tank. During acclimation he stayed at the top of his container with his arms wrapped upward so that only the tenticles showed. The picture I posted under members tanks was the first (and only at this writing) good look I had of all of him as he realized he could leave his little chamber.

    He immediately went to the closest dark hole, stayed there a few minutes then came back out and grabbed the small piece of Halmadia that is in the tank. So far he has not investigated the tank but sits almost in the open with the Halmedia held in front of him and tenticles over his head with both eyes visable.

    Wish us luck!

    Trapper's Offspring

    Trapper's Grandchildren
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Congratulations and welcome to Trapper!
    We should be able to tell whether he's a briareus or not when we get some more photos.

    Nancy
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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  4. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    :welcome: trapper!
     
  5. AprylWillis

    AprylWillis GPO Registered

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    What are Halmedia? Can you send me a private message?
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    After almost two months, Trapper is still very recluse but last week he investigated the crab I had in my hand while I was trying to place it in a feeding "dish". He did not touch my hand but slid across the tank, down behind the LR and then made a sneaky crawl up the tank to check it out. Unfortunately, he did not eat take it and left it in the dish overnight.

    Yesterday, after several hours and no one present, he took a crab (still only eating dead ones) dangling from an airline tube positioned next to his den. Last night he took another dead crab on the tube with my hand in the water holding the tubing (simple minds - simple pleasures ;>). I am short on crabs (Paul has promised more by Friday) so I didn't try again with my last one (seems two have "escaped") but I did put a small piece of shrimp on the tubing and he examined it, coming 90 percent out of his latest den. I am not sure if he took any to eat. He either decided he had enough interaction, wanted to eat whatever he took in private or was annoyed by the fish trying to pick at the shrimp because he slipped into his den and closed the "door".

    Just before he examined the shrimp he very forcefully ejected the crab remains. The empty casing "flew" out of his den at least 6 inches up into the water column.

    We are still late into the night/early morning for any kind of visitation (I make myself visible for at least an hour every morning in an attempt to get him to accept my presence) but we have started lights out in the living area for all but the seahorse tank at 9:00 and were able to feed the first crab at midnight but the shrimp interaction was somewhere around 2:00 AM. Strangely enough, he seems less concerned about my hand IN the tank than my attempts to touch the tank from the OUTSIDE.

    We still don't know if he is pygmy or something else but we have ruled out Briarius. Mucktopus pointed me to some prior threads and provided a helpful comment on looking for maturity but we never see him in good light (I do think my night/red light vision is improving ;>). What has been peculiar is the parallel with the behavior of Dan's Sleipner (Trapper is definitely NOT bimac). Trapper seems to do similar things about 2 weeks after Dan reports them.
     
  7. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Is the computer near the tank??? Maybe some late night chats on Tonmo with Sleipner??? :shock:
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Cuttlegirl,

    No, but I could hook up the blue tooth to the laptop. Several people have reported octos paying attention to TV's and computer screens. Unfortunately, octopuses don't seem to like each other and don't even manage to get along the way cuttlefish interact so showing Trapper another octo might make him even more recluse. Of course if Sleipner and Trapper of of opposite sex virtual visitations might be acceptable.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    It looks like Trapper is brooding now. She moved into a large barnicle shell and has not left it in almost two weeks. She defends it vigoroursly and will now kill a crab if I place it close to the entrance. With a bit of encouragement, she will then eat it so we are hoping she survives until the eggs hatch (assuming there are eggs and that they are viable) The timing of her leaving the ocean and going into the tank is at the far end of possibly having fertile eggs but we will have to wait and see.

    I am removing (as I can catch them) the guppies and shrimp from the tank since they would find the babies an attractive food source. I am not sure if I will leave the pencil urchins in or not. They amazed me with their appetite for crab (great for clean-up) but are likely to eat any babies that survive the pelagic stage. I suspect the serpents would be just as interested in babies as food so I am still debating on the best way to attempt to raise any that hatch. I am thinking about trying to catch as many as possible and put them in breeder nets hung in the tank.

    Has anyone tried using the nets for babies? I have seen cups and other plastic containers used but not nets.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Merc O'toris Babies

    I am not quite sure what to think now :confused: . Trapper has been acting "differently" for the last week so I expected a change of one kind or another. She has been brooding overly long so I did not really expect babies but I put fresh pods in the tank early last week -just in case. On March 17th I was watching her early in the morning and she seemed to "spit out" (like she does crab legs) something a little different :wink: . I woke Neal and we watched for several hours more and one more baby escaped the den, jetisoned similarly. I stayed with the tank the rest of the night but no more babies emerged. I also removed the shrimp and guppy from the tank to minimize any predation (there are still crabs, serpents, stars and pencil urchins but nothing that swims).

    I caught the first two and put them in a breeder net inside the main tank. They were "missing" in the morning but reappeared last next night, still in the net. I know there are some small pods in the tank but the babies are not loose on the LR to find them so I have been trying a number of foods (including fresh hatch brine since I make it for my baby pipefish daily, roti-feast, ZooPlex and some tiny baby fish food).

    Last night (roughly 24 hours after the first two were released) Trapper acted VERY stressed and was flailing her arms and breathing heavily (similar to her occasional new behavior over the last week but for a loner period of time and more exagerated). I had turned off the power head (actually a pump that sucks from under the live rock and sand to give more circulation) to minimize the turbulance in the tank (the tank has an overflow and sump for its filtration). There should have been plenty of gas exchange without the secondary pump but I turned it back on because of her excessive heavy breathing. She settled back down when the current was restored (it had been off the better part of a day) but there are still no more babies.

    Has anyone had the opportunity to watch the hatchings when the mother is present? I cannot see the eggs but the mother is in a barnicle shell that faces the viewing section of the tank (this has been very fortunate since she will only eat dead crabs that are hand fed.) Is it normal for just a couple to hatch before the main group? Is her "flailing" and heavy breathing behavior an attempt to help the eggs hatch (I can't tell if she is using her funnel inside the shell when she does this) or is this a negative sign? Strickly from observation, it appears she is sealing the eggs IN rather than just keeping preditors OUT but last night she withdrew her entire mantle (first time we have seen this) for a few of seconds but nothing came out of the shell.

    http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o6/dwhatley/TrapperBrooding.jpg

    Reassurance and/or comments solicited :smile:
     
  11. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Octopus lay their eggs over a period of days so it's not too unusual to have some early squirts. There may be a clump yet to hatch. Trapper is behaving in a normal fashion for a broody octopus. The problem with her breathing is that the mantle muscle is weakening so she can't breathe as easily, she'll have been using the muscle tissue as an energy source while she wasn't feeding.

    J
     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Jean,
    She IS eating. I give her a fiddler every night and I know she eats at least some of it (it varies on how much each night and I try to collect the remains before the clean-up crew does their job so I can see how much she does eat). I started by dangling both alive and dead in front of her den using an air line tube. Over time it turns out that she will only take a dead one and prefers that I just give it to her with my hand. Since I started the hand feeding in stead of using the tube she takes the crab almost immediately (she will blow it away once until she realized that it is supper and is dead).

    Also, the heavy breathing comes and goes and is not constant. My thought, with your new info on the muscle change, is that it may be the current and not the oxygen level that caused her to relax since the change was almost immediate.

    Is there also a theory on the strange flailing behavior? I have seen this several times over the last week but not to the extent I saw it last night. She seemed confused, like she was searching for something but could not remember what (initially I tried giving her an addional crab thinking she was hungry but she rejected it) or as if she was being sucked into her den by her mantle and trying to pull away from the suction (which did not exist).

    As I write the symptoms I am fighting the thought that I am looking at sensenance (sp) and assume it happens to both sexes even though I only see mention of it in males.
     
  13. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    D

    I have heard of female octopus feeding after brooding but it generally only extends the life by a few weeks. And yes you do get senescence in females too.

    I have seen flailing in healthy octopus and it seems to be assiciated with the shedding of sucker cup skin. So it may be she's trying to deal with old skin. As for the confusion, dementia happens in other animals (not just humans, my spaniel has canine alzheimers :sad: ) so why not octopus?

    I'm sorry but Trapper does sound senescent :cry:

    J
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    5 babies as of this AM

    We are up to 5 baby octos (fry?), I think. I definitely have 3 that are alive and seem to eat Cyclopese in a net breeder and saw aother hatch tonight (this one inked when it caught the current) but haven't seen it on the glass to attempt a catch. This hatching is certainly different from the others I have seen where one morning there are dozens of octos swimming all over the tank!

    I got bold and tried a small shore shrimp when one grabbed a small bug that was floating in the net. One of the babies grabbed it and appeared to eat it but when I brought another, I saw the octopus release the in tact dead shrimp so I guess it was more of a defensive move than a preditory act.

    Jean, you mentioned using a baster and that worked much better than a net (I use them on seahorse fry too) with one problem. Do you have a secret for getting them OUT of the baster? I slowly let the water level fall and he inched down to the water but it took a good 5 minutes to get the little squirt out and then he wanted to hold on to the OUTSIDE ;>).

    Also, is there a known air exposure problem with them? I know with the horses there are major issues because of their swim bladder. I believe that octos don't have swim bladders but is there an issue with the skin?
     
  15. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi D,

    I keep the baster full of water (& squirtling) and put the tip just under the water surface then squeeze the bulb with gentle but firm pressure until it's flat. The squirt should transfer fairly easily like that. As for exposure to air, they don't have many air cavities so decomp (no swim bladder either) isn't an issue, the skin will dry out in these wee guys quite quickly, but there is a species of Aussie octopus (I forget which one) which hunts out of water.

    If the squirt holds on to the outside of the baster I usually put it next to the glass (underwater) they'll quite often shift to it, otherwise I slowly move my fingers down the baster (underwater too!) and find that the squirt will often move off rather than come in contact with my fingers.

    Hope this helps

    J
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Trap has accepted but then expelled without eating, her daily crab both last night and tonight. I tried hand feeding her a dead shrimp (which she may have consumed at least in part) and a damaged live shrimp that she expelled.

    It seems she will take almost anything I put in front of her but getting her to eat it is another story. I know she would eat varying amounts of the crabs initially but I am not sure how much she has digested over the last month. She has never fully rejected two crabs in a row before tonight and I am thinking they are becoming too much work for her.

    Still no more babies. Today I located three of the 5-6 (one known dead) but there may be others in the net still alive.
     
  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Trapper is now eating dead shore shrimp gut loaded with a small amount of tetracycline (she still wants nothing to do with anything alive). These are fresh kill and not frozen. She continues to stay in her den 24/7 but will readily take her 2 shrimp (about 1 hour apart) at night. This puts her at 3 weeks from the first hatching (the six babies hatched by ones or twos over 4 a day period). Lev's female lived 5 weeks after the hatching so I am hoping Trap will still be around for a couple more. I have noticed her eyes getting more prominent which fits with a description of normal sesenence but she still can change color and I don't see any skin problems (I rarely see her mantle though).

    We have 5 confirmed live and still only the one dead baby. Size varies with the 5 live but I worry that they are not growing as fast as they should. I have been feeding a combination of new hatched brine, frozen cyclopese, frozen mysis and live pods every night. There is a tiny crab in the feeder net that has not been touched. I am hesitant to put shore shrimp in quite yet but will try small live mysis (supposed to have arrived today) if my shipment arrives alive.

    All 5 babies are in a breeder net I found that is almost twice the size of a normal breeder net and has both a horizontal and a verticle divider. The octos can cross the divider easily but my thinking is that they can choose to be separate. There are 4 small shells in the upper section and I think they are used during the day. Two keep to themselves while three are often within a couple of inches of each other at night. The supports for the breeder are white so it takes me about an hour to locate everyone at night but eventually, I see each of them.
     
  18. corw314

    corw314 Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Hey! That's great the babies seem to be doing well and that Trapper is still eating. I'm thinking Biddle may be some type of dwarf. She was out tonight chasing my fingers!
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Carol,
    I noticed that you wished someone happy birthday from you and Spike but did not include Biddle so I am glad to know she is doing well. She is just the cutest little thing. I wish you would find out what she is though. I thought there were only about 4-6 known pygmy's so it seem she should fit a description somewhere. The fact that you have her playing is a lot for a dwarf so it would be interesting to have a clue to her identity (of course finding another could prove to be impossible).

    The one thing I have found with Trap is that she doesn't seem to be afraid of my fingers IN the tank. She will reach out and touch (once a night only) a finger placed on the outside but then does her go away standard Mercatoris pose and if that doesn't work, she closes her door.
     
  20. corw314

    corw314 Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Biddle is actually doing very well as long as we don't startle her. She's quick to turn black and retreat to her den. Very skittish, but has taken to trying to catch my fingers and is getting very curious. Sometimes you walk by the tank and don't see her sitting on top of the barnacles watching. Someone here had a link, I think on the meet Biddle thread with a similar looking octopus, think it was links to Roy's site. Don't think it's in the bipedal family, but she does have the striped look to her legs but no webbing, very long legs. Did you see the new pics I posted in Biddles' thread?
     

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