Unusual Octopus Socialization NEED HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Behavior and Intelligence' started by Vampire Squid, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Vampire Squid

    Vampire Squid Larval Mass Registered

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    Ok, name is Ben and I am a third year under-graduate Marine Biology major. I am doing my best to specialize in cephalopods.

    SO at the moment I am on a small island in Honduras observing the behavior of the local squid and octopus populations with my professor and two peers.

    A few days ago I went night snorkeling off shore and found a good sized caribbean reef octopus. Its head was about 10 inches long and it was hunting. This was very cool to watch as it soon caught a fish. Eventually, I noticed something strange on its arm. I looked closer to see that is was a very small octopus, its head about 2 inches long if that, and of the same color as the large. It was holding onto one of the arms of the large one close to the base of the arm. The octopus continued about with its fish until coming to a large colony of star coral which it began to slip underneath and all the while the little one just kept hanging on. Also, While it was entering the coral, a third octpus, whos head was about 3 inches long came out of the coral and sat on top.

    I have never heard of behavior between octopus of this fashion before. They could have been mates, but the size difference seems far too great for that. My professor whos been an invertebrate specialist for over 30 years hasnt the faintest idea what this means or has heard of it either.

    Could anyone help shed some light on this phenomenon?
     
  2. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    :welcome: Vampire Squid! I can't believe that name wasn't taken! :shock:

    Check out this thread while you're waiting for specific responses...
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    This is exciting and unexpected behavior for O. briareus as it is "known" that they are cannabalistic. Are you sure of the species? Often "common octopus" and "common Craibbean Octopus" are used interchangably but they are very different animals. A 10" mantle is extremely large for O. brieareus (common Caribbean octopus)

    O. vulgaris (common octopus) is consierably larger and can turn very white (a normal color for O. brieaeus), often displaying dark brown around the eyes and at the edge of the suckers. I have read about multiple O. vulgaris being kept in a common tank for researching raising them for food but have never seen anything of this nature about O. briareus.

    There were a pair of O. vulgaris at Mote four years ago that were found together in situ and kept successfully through adults (they were over a year old when I saw them) in a relatively small (guestimating 200 gallon) aquarium.


    The little one hanging on (and not being eaten) is REALLY unusual behavior from what we know. Any chance you were able to get photos?
     

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  4. Vampire Squid

    Vampire Squid Larval Mass Registered

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    We're fairly sure it is O. briareus. I know they can display many different colors and pattern, but it was the teal with brown mottling color that I have seen most of the O. briareus photos showing. It also did have the dark rings around its eyes but not around the suction cups. Unfortunately the internet on our island is preventing me from uploading my photos, but I have gotten okay photos and great video so far. I will be leaving in a week so I'll get the photos up as soon as I can

    I go to college in Sarasota so I have seen the octopi at Mote.

    The large octopus was out hunting again last night, but there was no sign of the two smaller ones. Its size was quite impressive to behold and it was not perturbed my my presence at all considering I was about a foot away from it at times.

    I used to be a member actually a long time ago, but have since lost my password and changed email. My previous name was the same but without a space. I figured you guys would be the best place to start in my quest to understand this.

    Its great to be back!
     

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  5. Vampire Squid

    Vampire Squid Larval Mass Registered

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    Oh, what do you know. It worked, nevermind then.
     
  6. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

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    Sounds like a very small male was attempting to mate.

    Roy
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Definitely looks O. briareus, not only the mottling but the green that they are famous for and shows more in photos than just the naked eye. I can't wait for more pictures and the video!

    Interesting that Roy thinks maybe a small male was trying to mate. I know he and Crissy have seen this with the Adopus in Indonesia but I would not have expected it with O. briareus. My one very panicy tank mating opportunity showed my male very quickly taking control then putting a lot of distance between himself and the female when he no longer had her immobilized so I am surprised a male that small would even approach. Of course tank life and open water life are quite different.

    One issue with our new photo up load is you have to watch the size. It will take most photos but I have misdiagnosed a problem when it appeared to upload but there was no picture and no error message. Should this happen it will be a size issue (I don't know the max and will PM Tony about seeing if he can up it a little bit). Also, if you use IE (not the case with FF), you may need to reduce the width of the window to see the add picture button.
     

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