Ziggy - Macropus ?

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by Teacher Kim, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    Need Help in identifying new octopus

    We just got this octopus 4 days ago and now have a couple of pics to share to see if anyone can help identify it. Sorry the pics aren't better, but I think they show enough detail to at least rule out some species! :)

    Here is what I know about it: It was shipped from New York. Supplier said it was from Indonesia and more colorful and outgoing than others he usually gets. It's about 8 inches long with maybe a 2+ inch mantle. Legs are long and stringy, maybe 6 inches or longer depending on if it's stretched out. I noticed that its mantle seems to be shaped like a cone often.

    It came out in the early morning after it was placed in tank the night before. I watched as it explored tank and even flattened out and turned the color of the sand. Then it changed back to a darker brown with a reddish tint and kept exploring. When I lift rock it is under it is a medium color brown with bright green splotches all over it.

    It actually came out and climbed on my hand once. I noticed this morning that it had eaten a hermit crab last night at some point! Yay!!! I realize it is probably "older", however the supplier said he thought it would grow to about 22 inches. Am wondering what species it might be, how old it might be and if there is any way to guess the sex of it. Also, once I get an idea of species, am interested in suggestions for more permanent tank size, shape, etc...
     

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  2. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    Am so not good at this picture uploading thing! Will try again.
     

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  3. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    One more pic.
     

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  4. GPO87

    GPO87 Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

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    May I just say that this is THE coolest classroom EVER!!! 8-) I love how in the second picture, none of the children seem even remotely interested in the fact that there is an OCTOPUS being dangled about their heads! (I'm sure it was just the timing of the photo).
    Looking forward to seeing more pictures Kim! :smile:
     
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  5. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    Thanks! We do have a lot of fun! Funny, I noticed the kids lack of interest after posting that pic! They had already had their fill of looking at an octopus by the time we took this pic. Haha!
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Kids have the attention span of ... well an octopus :grin: The "cone head" look is one we see from a lot of species and often involves a "skunk streak" of white or brown down the middle of the "cone" I don't know of an agreed upon interpretation but I suspect it is one of aggravation.

    Not lifting rocks to find it is a good idea. They need to be secure that they can hide so leaving them alone in their dens is advised. Interesting animal but I have no good guess for species. I do suspect something in the Macropus complex though, based upon it color and long arms. This would make it a nocturnal and animal so you may not see much of it during the day.

    As for identifying the sex, we have no distinct markings for females but the third arm to the right (clockwise as you orient your eyes with the octopuses) will often be curled. This specialized arm will have a suckerless tip and a channel (not always easy to see) to deliver spermatophores to the female. You may also notice several enlarged suckers near the body on any of the front four arms.
     
  7. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    Thanks for your input. I won't bother the den any more! :) So far you are right about it only coming out at night. It comes out in evening and is out all night. I swear that last night it was watching the TV! LOL I am going to try and get better pics soon. I haven't used a flash because I don't want to upset it. Is that correct? Some of the pictures on this site are so good! By the way, it has eaten 2 hermit crabs! Was worried that it might not eat. Oh yes, it now has a name... Ziggy! My foreign exchange student from Austria named it!
     
  8. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    More pics to help maybe identify! Also, it was out in middle of night of course, but stayed out until close to 8:30 am even with children watching it! So cool!!
     

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  9. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    O.K. Well, maybe you can access the above pic. or maybe not! Lets try another one!
     

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  10. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    underside of mantle...
     

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  11. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    This one shows it's legs with a different pattern.
     

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  12. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    Sorry, I know there's a way to do all the pics at the same time, but last time I tried I wound up with three pics of the same thing! This is the last pic I have that I think might give someone a clue as to what it is. Also, someone noticed that in a pic it looked like the front legs are thicker and longer than the others and that is definitely correct!
     

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  13. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Great looking Octo! I'm pretty baffled as to IDing it. it looks like it has false Eyespots (ocellus) in the picture with the toy blocks, very interesting. Curious to see what D thinks....
     
  14. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    Yes, I have noticed what looks like it might be eye spots, but I haven't seen any real coloration in them. They are hard to see. Also, as I said before, the two front tenticles are thicker and longer than the rest. I think it's a female, but not sure. If it's a female and was caught recently, does it look old enough to have mated? For some reason I'm really worried about that! I would hate to see fertile eggs or hatchlings die because of my lack of experience! Agh!
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I will make a guess that it is Octopus aspilosomatis (now officially Callistoctopus aspilosomatis ). From Mark Norman's Cephalopods A World Guide page 244:
    Note that there is no mention of an ocellus but I am not sure that is what we are seeing in the photo. If you continue to see it and can verify that the possible eye spot is in paired, then my guess goes out the window.

    I would guess she is old enough to have mated. Your lack of knowledge about caring for hachlings will not be a factor as we have not been successful keepin the planktonic at birth animals alive. She will brood eggs, fertile or not and seeing the little hatchlings may be exciting (it is for the adults) even knowing that they will not survive.

    While looking for on-line pictures, I found this study the may be of interest:
    Effects of environmental enrichment on the behavior of the tropical octopus Callistoctopus aspilosomatis

    Unfortunately, only the abstract is available for free. However, HighBeam has a 7 day free trial and includes access if you want to jump through the hoops to read it.
     
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  16. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    I think you might be right! I was watching her this morning and she doesn't seem to have a pair of eye spots, just random spots that are hard to see. The word "plain" would definitely fit her coloration. (Like anything about an octopus could be considered plain! lol) So far I haven't seen any bold patterns. When she is out, she is always a solid brown and when she does change color it is stays pretty solid.

    I read excerpt. Interesting! Am having trouble finding out how big it will get. Also, how did an octopus from Australia wind up in New York with info saying it was from Indonesia? lol!! Does this type of thing happen often? Is this species unusual to see? Pics and info seem to be harder to find than on the other species I was looking up. Maybe it is not as popular because it comes out mostly at night? Sorry for the questions, I just want to be able to make good decissions regarding it's care.

    If for some strange reason it did turn out to be a species that gets pretty big, or one that is more unusual, I would be willing to donate it to an appropriate person/place if one was reasonably close by and then find one better suited for a beginner! She is really cool, but I work with many kinds of animals and I am all about what is best for them and for research about them! :)
     

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  17. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Geography is not the best topic for most of us in the US :grin: If you will look at Indonesia you will see that the area is #1 large and #2 not separated from Australian waters by any kind of land mass so many of the species found in the Philippines (where we see a lot of the imported animals originate), Indonesia and Northern AU are the same.

    We have seen other, smaller animals in the Macropus complex but this one (if my guess is correct) is somewhat larger than the most common that show up. It is not an exotic species but not often shipped to the pet trade. Again, if my guess is correct you can expect about a 3" mantle with an individual arm length of about 14" or about the size of the Caribbean O. briareus.
     
  18. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    Great! How interesting! I'm glad to know she is one that we can keep!! I really like her, although I'm not sure that she likes me at all! She almost always has a pointed cone head! lol! So, what size and shape tank do you prefer for your octopuses? She is definitely healthy and eating so am ready to set up something bigger and permanent! Also, I just bought 60 marine shrimp from "Reefs to Go". They will be here in the morning. So far she has been eating hermit crabs. Am hoping she will like the shrimp better!

    I will look for information on this site about females and egg laying, just in case I need it. Is there anything in particular that I might look for in the way of changes in her color, etc... or behavior that might give me a signal that she could be going to lay eggs? Any other tips? I'd rather be too prepared than not prepared enough!! I can't thank you enough for you time and knowledge! I really appreciate it! I'm just amazed at her behavior and I think I'm hooked and will have to replace her when she passes one day. And now I will have some great resources to help me! Thanks again!! :)
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    If we assume (and please know this is a BIG assumption) that she will be about the size of O. briareus then something in the 65 gallon range with a sump should be comfortable. This kind of set up will give you more flexibility in the future as well. They only live about a year (maybe 18 months for some of the larger ones). This one is not new born and you will not find many of any species that young. On occasion we see hatchling of large egg species available but they are not easy to raise so something in the 3-6 month range is much more likely to survive. One of the collectors in FL is getting rather good at finding young O. briareus so I am hoping for an on-going source of young ones for this species.

    There is a whole subforum, Raising Octopus from Eggs under octopus care you can browse for trying to raise hatchlings. Unfortunately there are no successes with small egg species and almost all young in the Macropus complex have a palegic stage. As far as identifying when this is about to happen (assuming this on is typical of other species), you will likely see a major positive change in appetite and activity followed by the securing of either her current den or a new den. Securing the den will likely involve moving rocks. building a barrier and possibly creating a door. Next she will enter the den and stop coming out. She may accept a little food in the beginning but will eventually stop eating. It does not hurt to continue to try to feed. She will likely live just long enough for the eggs to hatch and will tend them with her arms, siphon and even her mantle, keeping them clean and in motion. After the hatching she may exit her den and wander aimlessly for a day or so (still not eating) and you will notice that the mantle seems hard to control and kind of flops. Her color will be very dull but she may respond to gentle petting. Then she will die. When mine appear too weak to defend themselves from the clean-up crew, I move them to a breeder net for their last day(s).
     
  20. Teacher Kim

    Teacher Kim GPO Registered

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    Again, great information and helpful! How sad though, when the octopuses get to the end of their lives. But the cycle of life goes on.... So, I have tried to raise baby sea horses before, but of course with no real luck. If she does lay eggs and they turn out to be fertile, I will try my best to keep them alive as long as possible. :)

    Meanwhile, I have already made a call to my lfs to see what they have in the way of used tanks. ( l like to recycle things and to build my own set ups. One of my set ups was a 125 with a 55 gallon sump that I built myself! I also have a 50 gallon with a plennium (sp?) filter system that I constructed!) I have been looking for pics of octopus tanks, but mostly see the octopus, not what the tank looks like. Would love to see a pic of your tank or tanks! I couldn't find any on the site. Could you maybe direct me to the right area to see tank pics, or post a pic of your tank? Thanks a bunch!
     

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