[Octopus]: Asian Food Market Octos - Take 2

I know O. vulgaris are kept in LARGE tanks together without (much) issue as long as they are about the same size. The tanks I have seen (photos) house between 5 and 10 with very limited sheltering and only the small animals end up attacked. If you are not seeing aggression (quite obvious in some species) I would (holding my breath) continue as you are doing.

I ended up with a boy named Sue (SueNami) because the missing arm was the hectocotylus. I suspect he courted a female that wanted nothing to do with his amorous attempts. The only caveat is that this species (O. briareus) is quite cannibalistic. I was able to mate a pair of these (hatchlings but no survivors after less than a week). Neither animal hurt the other after two pairings but they were siblings and had seen each other across the room all their lives. I am not sure the familiarity was helpful but think it may have been.
Puzzling situation now...

I went down to check on them and witnessed what at first appeared to be one of the octopuses struggling to survive. I then realized it was actually two octopuses together. My first thought was that they were fighting but I didn't see any inking and it wasn't what I would picture an octopus fight being... I continued to watch and then went and grabbed my video camera and put it on night mode.

As I filmed it looked more and more like they were potentially courting or mating. The known male was on the mantle of what I think is the female, similar to what I've seen in pictures of octopuses when the male is delivering the spermatophore. I continued to monitor this and except for the thrashing around, there didn't seem to be any real aggression. Although I was in the dark, I don't think I saw much in the way of color changes in either one and there was no inking involved so I guessed this was not aggression.

When they finally separated, what I noticed was that the one I am guessing is a female seemed to be missing an arm or two, but not sure if this was the same before or if it was a new occurrence. Question - do octopuses... like it rough? Sorry, should have been more scientific and asked if dismemberment was sometimes part of courtship...

What appears to be the 3rd arm looked to be a complete arm that tapered to a tip, not sure if what I was seeing was correct, however.

On the other hand, the "female" seemed to be in pretty bad condition when this was over. Her eyes were hidden away and she kind of just hung there on the wall, but not sure if this is simply an aftereffect of mating in octopuses.

I uploaded almost a 30 minute video to youtube, linked below. For some reason it was not playing when I tried to view it, but hopefully it comes through.

Any expert opinions on whether what is exhibited in the video is courtship/mating or aggression would be appreciated. I did note that when they began to separate and there was some space between them, the known male had his beak out and was "biting" at the water. I don't know if it was also biting the "female" but I did not see any evidence of this on her mantle. This can also be seen on the video. It's long, but hopefully it will play properly and hopefully it also has enough clarity to see what is going on.

Hmmm... Looms like aggression may be the answer. The "female" looms to have died overnight so I will be pulling it and dissecting later on. Will try and do a better job of memorializing the dissection and will search for both eggs and spermatophores. Lesson learned, these species only tolerate close proximity when they are in such poor.condition that they are near death. That said, could also be that the mating was simply too much stress for a weakened female if I end up finding eggs.
OK, not weaving things, but should have said looks above... ipad spell check is terrible...

Anyway, I pulled the octopus and verified that it was a female but could not find anything that resembled spermatophores.

Here's a video of the dissection process. I didn't want to risk dropping electronics into the sink as I dissected (I already had the video camera on a tripod balanced in the corner of the sink) so I didn't know what each organ was exactly, but what I called the crop was the cecum. The "lumps" I described in the mantle flesh were probably the muscles and some of the organs I cut up were most likely kidneys, the darker organs I thought were hearts are most likely not the hearts but the two organs I cut up later that were white colored were potentially hearts...

If you happen to know the anatomy better, please comment and note the time!

Blind leading the blind here but ...
First, here is the link to Cassy's journal when we mated her to Tatanka. You might watch one of the videos to see if you agree that the actions appear similar. This page and the next have photos and videos of two separate pairings. Noting that the knowns male did not suffocate the "female" (one of my concerns with Cassy and Tank since it is a known kill method) I would say you are seeing a mating attempt. The only noted damage to the female (none to the male) was a hole in her webbing but this indicated the beak was involved at some point.

@Neogonodactylus has recorded several "rough sex" observations in stills. In one case (aculeatus), the female totally tore up the male and he has mentioned O. mercatoris matings as being rather violent (oddly, the merc mating I witnessed was not but the sibling had lived together all their lives and this may have made a difference).

Two thoughts about the truncated arms. One is that the "female" suffered damage to the arms with the excessive cold AND/OR she was highly stressed and chewed off her own arms. I have definitely seen this with an animal the exited the tank and was out of the water under a fan. The skin was clearly damaged and he began eating his arms over the next few days, ultimately passing away. I don't think this would be from the bacterial kind of autophagy that is sometimes noted as the known male is unaffected. The other thought is male damage, mostly because of what appears to be a bit in one of the arms. Both are possible.

One further thought is that we have seen male mate with males and Kat's dissection talk mentioned it was common in squid. @Neogonodactylus also just posted a picture of two male wolfi in a mating.

I've been having computer problems and it appears my post never got saved but at least it was autosaved enough to complete it from another computer tonight.
After watching the similarities between your video and mine and verifying that the deceased was a female, I am definitely thinking that this was mating again. The fact that by the end of it he released from his position and didn't appear to inflict any further damage would seem to indicate that there was no outright territoriality or aggression going on, although there certainly was some aggression during the courtship itself.

That said, I do think that the interaction was simply too rough. The struggles when I first came down could have been going on for hours and in an already weakened state, could have easily resulted in the death of the female if she was resisting the overtures enough, which it appeared she was. I do believe that the arm was probably removed by the male and wasn't chewed off by the female. I did see them both out and looking very good previously without any signs of missing arms to the extent that I saw post-copulation. The forearm was certainly intact prior to this and my recollection of seeing an arm with a bit of regrowth on the 3rd to the right is probably correct. I surmise that he bit them off during their interactions but I am wondering where they are... the forearm is pretty darned big and to simply lose sight of it... I wonder if he ventured into her den and that's what started this whole thing.

I do believe that if I attempt to get another one while this male continues to live (hopefully with only one there he will start eating since I saw no signs that he was successful in transferring any spermatophores) I will look at how I can put them into separate tanks. I still continue to wonder if the lack of any eating is simply the aftermath of the stress they have already gone through prior to getting to my tank or if they were truly bothered by being in the same system as another octopus.
Well, the male passed away sometime last night and I believe that this could possibly be from the trauma surrounding attempting to deposit spermatophores in the female. It seems like the decline was fairly sharp after mating (or attempting to since I did not find any spermatophores in the female or anywhere else for that matter).

My conclusions after this latest round are that a temperature of between 60-62 degrees is probably ideal for this species.

They seemed to engage in mating activities at around this temperature and then both declined rapidly - the female expiring within less than 24 hours of mating and the male within about a week of mating. I cannot chalk this up to just the fact that they mated and the male died naturally thereafter but rather believe that the stress of attempted mating caused them to die when coupled with the fact that they were in such poor shape to begin with.

They do eat when the right conditions exist... I was successful in feeding the male a grass shrimp and a piece of table shrimp. Neither of these constituted normal healthy eating as I had to slowly offer and hold it and he essentially gummed the shrimp down over the course of about 20 minutes of slowly moving it towards his mouth, but he ate and that's an achievement.

My next trial will include separating a male and female and keeping the temperature around 60 degrees. If this is in fact the lower end of their acceptable temperature, then it won't be too stressful for them. I'll continue to offer foods until they eat and then, if all goes well, I'll introduce them to each other, but not until I witness aggressive eating.

By the way, the eggs lasted for two days and then they all disappeared. It's possible that the male went over and ate them, but I didn't witness this so can't say for sure. Not a single egg remained anywhere in the system, hence my suspicion that he may eaten the eggs.
Cassy's eggs started disappearing in the last two weeks and I was never sure who ate them. Do you have anything else in the system (serpent star, live crabs that did not get eaten)? Clean-up of most any eggs is often pretty fast.

Since the females have both had eggs it is quite likely that you are seeing very mature animals (since mature animals would be the largest, this makes sense for food import). Many articles will mention that the male dies shortly after mating and has a shorter lifespan than the female. This is NOT true of any of the two species I have had that mated (O. mercatoris and O. briareus) and @Neogonodactylus has mentioned a similar observation (with the blue rings and I think aculeatus) so it is unclear where the statement comes from but could be possible for species we don't observe in the states.

Size is not a particularly good indicator for age but it may be worth trying for the smallest active one next time. As much as this is frustrating, I wish I could be experimenting along with you :mrgreen:
Oh, and only periwinkles that could reach the place where the eggs are. They were in a homemade nori clip in an area of good flow so possible that when the egg sac ripped open they scattered, but it the egg sac itself was pretty tough in terms of the membrane and too a razor blade to cut open when I dissected the first one.
I don't think they would ship well a second time :roll:

Oddly, I don't think they rotted because I kept a batch of infertile vulgaris eggs in saltwater just to see how long it took. I will say that the water evaporated several times and the salt may have preserved them but I gave up on waiting after over a month.
Purchased 3 males today with the intention of separating them into different tanks linked into the main tank and then the bag floated under the return and instant acclimation... There is one that is very small compared to any I have gotten in the past, may pull that one if the opportunity presents itself and put it into a separate tank and then work on dividing the tank itself into two sides...
Does "instant acclimation" mean they exited under their own power? In addition to being smaller, are you sure the little guy is the same species?
Unfortunately, no, the ghetto chiller set up is on to of the tank and when the bag drifted too close to the return it got caught in it and poured a bunch of water Into it. They are all still in hiding, which is a good sign I suppose, but I also cannot see them to judge their appearance and make conclusions on health.

By all appearances, the smaller one is the same species. Has the same overall look to it and the pattern of little yellow dots on the mantle is the same, just a much smaller mantle and shorter arms.

Any chance you know how many dozen fiddler crabs fit into a shipping container for Marine Bait Fish orders?

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