Ziggy - A. ? (presumed Indonesian)

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by DWhatley, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I ordered a "Mexican" octopus from LA after CaptFish placed a similar order and the animal looked interesting. Sadly I am quite sure what arrived is an Indonesian species and has the general look of Abdopus aculeatus. I don't believe it is young juvenile (the very young I have had have translucent skin during most of their exponential growth stage) but the patterning is strong and lacks signs of senescence. I believe it is too small to be aculeatus but don't have a good guess for an alternate species. I posted an ID request noting features that I believe are diagnostic.

    As we expect from Live Aquaria, the animal was well packaged with large amounts of water and oxygen. The heat pack was still warm but placed directly on the bag rather than the preferred method of attaching it to the box to prevent direct contact. The animal arrived lively and the water, with the exception of the expected PH drop was clean without detectable nitrites.

    I offered it a piece of thawed crawfish tail during acclimation. After several attempts of touching the food to the suckers and seeing an interest but no consumption, I left the small piece in the acclimation cage and remained out of sight for about 15 minutes. When I looked back, the food offering had disappeared and was assumed eaten. The animal eliminated shortly after being placed in the tank confirming at least that it had recently eaten something.

    On entering the tank it explored all of the live rock with no interest in the sand. I could follow its progress by watching the fleeing pods and seeing the arms actively investigating. At about 6:00 PM it came out into the open and sat on the live rock for over an hour. I offered an additional small piece of the crawfish tail (about the size of it eye stalk) and it accepted the food from an acrylic feeding stick.

    Unfortunately, my acclimation photos don't give much information.

     

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Day two the octo was unseen until 6:00 PM. It came to the front of the LR with a shell attached to several front suckers and as I sat looking at it, it banged the shell several times on the live rock. It did not handle the shell in any other way. We added a dozen small hermits to the tank on arrival because I was not sure I had food it would take. I am not sure if the shell had or did contain a hermit. It looked all the world like it was throwing a temper tantrum and demanding to be fed. I offered a piece of thawed shelled blue crab claw and it did not hesitate to approach the feeding stick and take the meal. Needless to say I am delighted it is eating well but worried that it may be a female close to brooding. It stayed out in the open on the LR until about 7:00 (roughtly an hour) and returned again in about 15 minutes to observe surroundings. By 10:00 PM it disappeared into the LR. This may not be indicitive of natural behavior though as we have often seen them change schedules after fully acclimating to the tank.

    Sadly I missed videoing the shell slamming and the still is not clear


    It seems to protect the end of its mantle with its arms. I have not seen it swim or fully leave the live rock at any time.
     

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  3. Cuddlycuttlefsh

    Cuddlycuttlefsh Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Seems as if your octopus is crepuscular (though I have absolutely no evidence that the octo is active during the morning) and wouldn't an aculeatus be diurnal?
     
  4. iAlex

    iAlex Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    You should send an email to LA's customer service about how you think this is an Indonesian species rather than a Mexican sp.
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Cuddlycuttlefish, Until they are comfortably adjusted to an aquarium (about 2 weeks) their schedule is not obvious. I am recording observations for something to look back on. Unfortunately, I expect this one to be nocturnal.

    Alex, I plan to complain by phone but not too harshly. They are one of the few places that are trying to provide ocotpuses (and it looks like they are considering experimenting with raising bandensis cuttles) and I don't want to discourage them.

    I observe it out at 3:00 AM as well as at 6:00 AM but it was in the LR at 8:00 AM.
     
  6. iAlex

    iAlex Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Are you talking about how they have the picture under aquacultured inverts? I've talked to them about that before and they didn't seem like they were actually going to persue it for whatever reason.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Alex, yes, that is the display I noticed. They have not removed it yet and they are dabbling more with octos so I guess we wait and see.

    Ziggy (for now, not final) did not show up at 6:00 but did at 8:00 PM. Before she came out, I noted a new shell blocking one of the holes where she denned yesterday. She was not in front of her den but took the crab on a stick (with less gusto then yesterday but quite willingly) and the moved to her den's primary entrance to eat it for half an hour. This time I sat and watched her. When she was finished, she took the outer skin, hopped (best way I can describe it) off the live rock, skimmed along the sand in front of the tank, deposited what she did not eat and skimmed back to her den entrance then sat and just observed (or digested?). She took the excess food to the exact location I found it yesterday.

    Later she returned to her den (well inside a piece of LR) and started securing all the entrances with shells and I saw her blow out sand. Then she did something I had never noticed an octopus doing. An arm came out from one of the lower holes in the LR and picked up sand in her suckers. I saw her do this twice and it was quite clear she was intentionally picking up the sand and bringing it into the den. There is no way for me to see into her den so I am at a loss for how she may be using it, especially since I saw her blow sand out of the den earlier. I don't think we know how octopuses that hand their eggs create the hard, bark like substance some use to make the egg strings and I wonder if sand is part of the forumla.

    I also fear she is preparing to brood :cry:

    Supper Time - Shelled Blue Crab Claw Chunk
     

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  8. corw314

    corw314 Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Nice! Welcome to Ziggy (?).....I see a nice size bristle worm there too!
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Not so nice, wayyyyyy too many. I am trying to invent a reducing device :grin:

    I tried to video Ziggy's hop and glide to take uneaten food away from the den but setting up the camera and messing with the lighting made her uncomfortable so she went inside, leaving the food outside. She then recovered the food and dragged it in with her. I waited 45 minutes but she never exited to deposit left overs while I was watching. At least she is still interested in food.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    In a recent fossil paper I had the fun of being cited for explaining that octopuses don't eat the shells of their food victims and don't produce a hard pellet that could be fossilized. I have also mentioned observing that the smaller octopuses that I have kept don't make midden piles in aquariums. Ziggy has been demonstrating both and I finally caught it on video. Normally she will take her hard waste (but not uneaten food without a shell) all the way to the far side of the aquarium. The video shows her dropping it 1/3 of the normal distance away and I think it is because she was very aware I was watching.

    She comes to the front of her den promptly at 7:00 but has been taking the food inside (she learned supper time in a day but initially would eat outside her den). The video shows her outside but I tricked her into this by giving her a claw that was too large to fit :sagrin:) If I happen to see her out at other times (rare) she now goes to her den. Hopefully this will change in a week or so (if she does not brood by then :sad:).



     

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  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    We only see Ziggy out at suppertime and some times she has to be coaxed by offering food too large (usually consisting of a crab claw with the shell on but meat exposed) to fit in her den. We were late feeding her and she went hunting on her own after detecting food in the tank (Neal had just fed the other inverts). After exiting to the back of the aquarium she sat in front of her doorway and ate the shrimp.

     
  12. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Then it was back to her den but she had discovered that one of her doorway shells was moving on its own and she was not pleased :sagrin: I am not sure if she was trying to shake the hermit out to eat it or just to keep the shell from moving away. She should not have been hungry but this is the second time we have seen her slamming shells with hermits inside. It does not seem that she could get enough power behind the slams to break the shell so it is unclear what she it trying to accomplish.
     
  13. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    When Ziggy closes up her den for the night the long shell is in the upstairs doorway but the ground floor shells change (maybe because they try to walk off :grin:). She seems to stay out for ony about an hour each day. Other than one of the first nights after she arrived I have not seen her out at any time other than supper time.
     
  14. Sap

    Sap Larval Mass Registered

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    This video of Ziggy smashing the shell off the rock is absolutely amazing. I'm enjoying reading your journal, so I know what to expect as I go into the raising of my first Octo.
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks, I had seen this behavior once before but did not get a good video. This time I was trying to video her taking remains far away from her den (foiled again) but we not unhappy with getting this clip instead.

    For the first time, Ziggy was spotted out on the glass (8:00 AM) she froze their for awhile (no detectable breathing), finally started normal breathing and then swam back to the rocks. She did not go to her den but to another set of rocks and hunted, displaying arms out of all the holes and crevices while her body was inside the rock and not visible. I have no video of her swimming yet but she rarely leaves her rocks even when she stays visible. She also came out on her own around supper time (she has needed to be coaxed lately). She did not eat well on Friday and we have put her on the Saturday fast schedule so I think she was hungry.
     
  16. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Up until this week Ziggy has only allowed us to sit and watch her if we give her a piece of food too large to fit in her den. She would sit out on her "porch" and eat but then retreat inside and want nothing to do with us. As I mentioned above this past weekend she started showing up on the glass early in the morning and allowing us to see her out but curled up on the glass.



    Next we started finding her away from her den at supper time, then spread on the glass



    And tonight she was a dancing fool



    I got the crabs I ordered from Coldwater Marine Aquatics and fed her one that did not survive my initial attempts at putting them in a tank. She was hesitant to take it and I have yet to see the empty carcass but she either really liked the crab, got high from eating it or just turned 5 months old :grin:

    Note: The ending is not spliced, the dog came into the room :grin:
     

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  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Ziggy's Brooding

    I am about 6 days overdue to report. Six days ago Ziggy stopped eating and four days ago she shut herself up in her den (well inside a rock with no possible viewing). It was odd that she stopped eating that long before her brood as my others have eaten like little pigs just before brooding. I am convinced the wall dancing we so often see from the Abdopus group is a mating signal. I don't know if she has mated but there is a possibility of fertile eggs but her mantle was not overly fat so I would not expect many. I am quite sure she is a small egg species. They won't survive long but I have never had small egg hatchlings so this will be a new experience (all small egg species I have kept did not produce hatchlings even when they brooded eggs).

    I tried to photograph and did catch at least a small shot of the way Ziggy uses the sand to fill in den crevices (video on post #13, something I have not seen in other species). When she locked herself in her den, it was clear that she had hauled sand into the den as there was a trail on the front rocks. This group seems to only brood for about 10 days so I expect to see hatchlings in a week if the eggs are fertile.

    :sad:
     
  18. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    wow fascinating i have not had a chance to report either but Spock has also stopped eating and stopped coming out which started about a week ago.
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    No sign of hatchlings or Ziggy appearances but she is strong enough to hold one of the shells tightly and I can just see a few suckers with a flashlight. She has used the bottom sand to fill almost all crevices between the shell doors and in the rock so peeking is pretty much useless. None of my other females have used tiny substrate to keep out predators and I don't recall anyone else mentioning the use of mortar.

    I put two peppermint shrimp in a breeder in hopes that they would provide potential food. Unfortunately, one ate the other :roll:
     
  20. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I am checking on Ziggy several times a day now. She has moved the shell I disturbed yesterday into a slot that allows me to move it slightly and cause her to wave an arm out looking for the disturbance. If the eggs are fertile, they should be hatching very soon unless the cooler temps we are having (there is a heater in the system but it is set to the mid 70's) has slowed the normal very short brood cycle of this group.
     

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