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[Octopus]: Wayne - Macropus Complex First Ever Octopus

Niall

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#1
Hi there,

I've just received my first ever octopus after a lot of reading and watching an empty tank for what feels like ages.

I got him about eight hours ago, and he's been roaming his new tank exploring. He's now sitting in a corner, with a white colouration.

I wondered if anyone would be able to help identify him, or lead me to a website/article that would help me to find out what species he is? The supplier was vague, and didn't supply a latin name. When he wanders around the tank, he is usually a lovely red colour.

Also, one of his legs appeared to have been cut, but there is a small piece regrowing out of it. The leg is a lot shorter than all his rest (about half the size maybe). Do octopus regrow their legs?

I will post more photos when he decides to move around a bit more.

Thanks! :)

IMG_0293.JPG
 

DWhatley

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#2
I'll make a 40% call (99% if this is a Caribbean animal and imported but don't know of a similar species in Europe - I am quite sure it is not your common octopus, O. vulgaris) that this is Octopus briareus. Typically more red and, again imported but from Indonesia, there is a higher possibility - given your location - it is of one of the Macropus complexes (that can often look like O. briareus in some colorations). In either case the species is nocturnal. O. briareus will often learn to come out with lower lighting in the early evening, especially if you feed consistently anytime after sunset (often this can be pushed earlier as the sun sets earlier toward winter). The Macropuses we see are very nocturnal and are rarely seen during the day (mine would feed and be active at 3:00 AM). You can view other's journals for both species by using the links attached to the names in the List of Our Octopuses 20xx threads at the top of this forum . Let us know when he has a name so I can include it in the list. Here is a link to Puddles' journal (Macropus (sp)). You will find many O. briareus in the lists.

Your new ward NEEDS a den and that is fully dark during the day. You can create one with live rock or add something like a PVC pipe or other plastic objects. They are sensitive to stress and without a fully dark home will not survive long. The first two weeks (or so) will normally show a different (more friendly, active) behavior than after it is full acclimated. After full tank acclimation, seeing it out often in full daylight is a sign of senescence (old age).

Missing arms (or sections of arms) is a normal condition and it is rare to find a wild animal with all arms intact. The fact the you are seeing regrowth is a good sign and over time the truncated arm will be hard to detect. They use their arms to investigate rock for prey. Often enough, they find crabs (particularly blue crabs) that can remove an arm. Depending upon size, the crab may find the arm a suitable dinner or the octopus will dine. Octopuses are considered a major nuisance to crabbers because they raid the crab and lobster traps with regularity.
 
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Niall

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#3
DWhatley,

Thank you so much for your incredibly useful reply! I will read up on the links you sent. I've added some PVC tubes and made a couple caves out of live rock, which he has explored but seems to prefer to sit watching me (at the moment, anyway) and my other aquarium.

Would a red LED light, or even a blue filter onto the white lights I have at the moment make him feel more comfortable? My lfs sells red/blue LEDs so I can easily buy one.

Thanks again! :)
 

Niall

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#4
Just as I sent that reply, he has gone and hidden under a large piece of rock. He has colored up more since his arrival.

I think I will call him "Wayne". :)
 

DWhatley

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#5
Definitely use red lighting. You can go fairly bright with the red and not seem to interfere with activity. Blue is thought to possibly be worse than white light for their eyes. I have experimented with both blue and red and can say there is a definite difference. Interestingly the O. briareus and O. macropuses I have kept will tend to den under the red light vs under the totally dark (I keep half the tank dark and half under red light) side.
 

sirreal

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#6
Great looking octo you have. Enjoy and please take lots of pics and vid and post. Tell us about the things he/she does. what he/she eats. The more you share the better. As far as lights red is the way to go so you can see him. If you dont want to pay LFS prices you can get red lights at a Home depot "Not sure you have those in Scottland" Some kind of home improvement store, Just a cheap fixture and I used red curly floresent bulbs 25watt. They worked great and cheap.
 

Niall

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#7
Thank you both for your replies. :)

It's 2am here and I think he's decided to have a nap after a couple days of traveling! Earlier today he cracked open a cockle and ate that.

Do you recommend anything to stimulate his mind; toys, etc? I have some pvc pipe in there (large pieces to hide, small pieces to play around with).
 

sirreal

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#8
Yes Toys are a great thing but give him some time to get used to his new home first. Wait maybe a week then you can try some. Also i have to ask what is a cockle? I will try and look it up on Google. Ok I looked it up. salt water clam. Very cool. At least those should be pretty simple to clean out of the tank and wont make the mess that crabs do. I tried a few different clams with Tranny but he would only take one now and then. Then again every octo is different. Good luck with wayne or waynette
 

Niall

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#9
I got a pack of them from my lfs. They are gamma treated, so they're safe for fish. He seems to like cracking them open and I just need to remove the shell when he is done. :)
 

sirreal

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#10
Hoping to see some more pics soon or even a video so we can get a positive ID and A sex. This will help with the name. I really like waynette LOL. If you take pics or vid and it seems like it not very good dont worry about it. Post it anyway. Sometimes the bad pics and vid will still show male or female.
 

sirreal

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#11
Also you can try fresh raw table shrimp in small pieces. I am sure you have read how most use a feeding stick of some sort. Mine liked fresh bait shrimp but not all do and if your not by the coast you might not be able to get them. Also you can try silversides or any other small fish. Dead of course. I dont know if you can get ghost shrimp or grass shrimp. They are small About an inch and most of the time transparent. what I am getting at is to try different things. Some might work and others might not. I have no idea if you have bait stores where you are but I found them to be a great place to get cheap food for octos.
 

Niall

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#12
He is still hiding at the moment (its 7pm, I don't want to go in about the rocks looking for him, but can't see any sign of him) so will take some pictures/videos when he comes out. What is the easiest way to identify his sex? Or does it vary by species?

I've got some PVC tubes in there, and a Y-piece undergravel (I thought he might appreciate a few pre-built tunnels and den haha), so plenty of places for him to chill out after his travels. I have kept many different fish and animals, but already this is my favourite. Last night he was watching the fish in my big 500 reef :)

I will check for local bait stores and make sure he gets some good food in him! I wouldn't want to take anything from our coasts cause our seas are pretty nasty up here! :) I work for a lfs and we can order in live feeder shrimp, which are about an inch, so will definitely try some of them.

Another stupid question... do different colours mean different things? Or do they just usually pick a colour that matches their surroundings? For example, does red/black indicate they are stressed or angry?

Thanks again for all your help :)
 

Nancy

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#13
Hi Niall,

Welcome to you and your new octopus! Octopuses have not been so easy to find in Scotland, so glad to hear this project has worked out for you. That's a good looking octopus!

Where in Scotland are you?

Looking forward to more photos,

Nancy
 

Niall

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#14
Hi Nancy,

Thank you for your warm welcome. :)

I'm up in Inverness, capital of the Highlands.



Will definitely be updating this with more as he gets more confidence with me,

Niall
 

Nancy

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#15
You must be the first person in the Highlands ever to keep an octopus!
Some years ago I coauthored a book on keeping octopuses with a former Tonmo staff member who lives near Glascow, Colin Dunlop.You might be interested in it (Cephalopods: Octopuses and Cuttlefishes in the Home Aquarium, by Colin Dunlop and Nancy King) It contains at least one photo of collecting octo food along the coast of Scotland. The book is now out of print but some copies are still available.

Nancy
 

sirreal

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#16
on the question of color IMO yes and no. LOL sorry I will be more specific. With the O.Briareus that I had it was more about his surroundings or at least it seemed to be. Since I never really saw him get mad i am not sure. What I can tell you is this was a very different thing with the vulgaris I had 15+ years ago. If he did not like something he would get very red. There are people with much more knowledge about this then me. i have kept 6 octos and 4 species and everyone was different. Mind you also some are very smart and let you know what they want. Others not so much. DWhatley calls the O.Briareus the blonde of the octo world. I would agree. I was just reading an article that Octobot posted about the Vulgaris from the gulf of mexico possible being smarter then other octos. This I would agree with also. There are several species that are commonly kept that I have not had yet. I would like to keep a bimac but in FL I would need a very good chiller"which I have" and plenty of money for the power bill that goes with it.
 

Niall

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#17
Thanks for your info :)

Here are some more photos of him (or her) at 2am this morning. Seems to be exploring one corner of the tank in particular... He has been crawling up the corner and poking his head up to the water line (but not out of the water) and darting back down again. Seems to be sussing out his surroundings.

Let me know what species you think, and gender too if possible :)

Photo 14-08-2014 01 51 40.jpg Photo 14-08-2014 01 51 42.jpg
 

DWhatley

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#20
Here is a thread with photos that will help you try to determine Wayne's sex.

I strongly believe this is one of the Macropus complex. The ability to raise the skin where it shows white spots further suggests the unnamed species in the photo below (Cephalopods A World Guide, Norman revised 2003 pg 254). Norman mentions its similarity to O. luteus but the papillae would point to his Octopus sp. 8.
norman_macropusSp.jpg

I do think that color changes are a communication device. Translating what is bring communicated is not clear even for researchers trying to study behavior. I have only kept two in the complex (different from this one) and the only time I saw the brilliant red with bright white spots was shortly after coming to live in the tank, before it was accustomed to my presence. Once fully acclimated to tank life, I never saw the display again.
 
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