Beldar - Callistoctopus aspilosomatis ?

DWhatley

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Strangely enough, I removed the night light from the back of the tank last night and at 6:00 AM (late night side - still) she was out on the front glass. After eating her crab she chose a FRONT den and started digging in so I am more confident with the thought that she is making underground daytime places. What is interesting is that she chose to make a den on the most lighted side. Time will tell if this is just her acclimating to the tank or if lighting has some impact but it is the first time she did not go to the back of the tank at bed time. I am getting the impression that this species may be very near sighted.
 

forever27

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Keep trying with the cups. I used a clear solo cup with some sand at the bottom of it. The fiddler can't climb up the sides and Lennon could see it well. I don't really use them as much anymore now that I know his dens, but it was a good way to find them. I moved them around the tank to see if he could see them or not.

Also, Lennon doesn't so much dig with his fingers like Bel or Artemis, however he does find dens under the live rock. His main den (he has 2 or 3) is also on the lighter part of the tank. I think that could be just a coincidence thought, because I purposely put the best "cave" for him over there to try to encourage him to come out in daylight.

Interesting point about the species being nearsighted! It would be cool to try and experiment with that somehow.
 

DWhatley

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If I remember correctly (without looking) Artemis took his food to his den. Does Lennon? Bel eats where she catches and fully concentrates on the food until it is gone. Sometimes she looks uncomfortable with me watching but she does not abandon the food and she does not take it to a den.

Forever27, what kind of bottom substrate is in Lennon's tank?
 

forever27

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Lennon does take food to his den. And I've got a fine sand substrate.
Also, to get Lennon out lately, I've been stick feeding him with the lights on (5-7 PM) and gradually moving the food away from his den. At first the food was practically in his den, now I'll put it real close then move it away from him and make him "hunt" it down. I think it's helping to get him out during the day.
 

DWhatley

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So far Beldar is making the appearance calls and I have no clue where he dens. We built out this tank three years ago in anticipation of our first octopus (after a LOT of reading) and it seems to be a good design for an octo, just not for human interaction :hmm: Lots of LR with uncountable dens of varying sizes, accomodating most any lighting comfort. Unfortunately, it is in a low traffic area so we have to make an effort to be seen. My most interative octos have live in the eating area, something I would highly recommend for tank placement since humans are often present, are seated and can be observed without in-your-face confrontations.

I think Beldar is male and possibly just becoming sexually mature. If we just knew what that meant about his age, it would be helpful info :rolleyes:. This morning he was up at 5:00 AM and came to the front of the tank when I visited. If I get to the tank between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM I am usually treated with a visitation but still no luck at all during the evenings. Perhaps they only make one foraging trip in a day and it is either AM or PM. If so, getting him to switch needs thought. In any case, you have to observe one of these little guys to fully understand that trying to watch and count arms is very difficult and will cross your eyes when you try. Not only are the arms constantly in motion when they are on the glass but the arms are different in length and thickness and give a visual spaghetti. This AM I noticed one arm was curled very tightly and tried to follow it to be sure it was not severed. After a lot of concentration, I confirmed the location (third arm clockwise). He kept it this way for 15 minutes or so and one other partially curled but before retiring all arms were relaxed. He has not held an arm like this under observation before and the curl was very exagerated.

The arms on this species, as Sedna has commented, are very unusual. It appears there is evolutionary suggestion of becoming a 4 armed creature with the back 4 arms being used only marginally and are very frail looking compared to the front four.

I am really hoping we can switch his active times because he is such an unusual creature. He looks like something out of a comic book and has antics to match.
 

forever27

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D- Lennon is always out, pretty much guaranteed from around 2 or 3 AM to at least 8 AM everyday, and has been since I got him. With training, he has been coming out to food and visit with me moderately (usually 15 minutes or less) during the daytime. Also, good point about the arms being like spaghetti! They're very hard to count and keep track of, that's for sure.
 

DWhatley

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I set up the "daytime" light (not a lot, but a few overhead LED's) that turn off at 7:00 PM and put a crab in a container, this time with a shell over my makeshift stopper. I sat at the tank for awhile but no sign of Beldar. I will continue checking on the crab and try this a few days to see if he wakes up enough to come out.

For some reason, Beldar makes me think of the second picture on the left :shock:. I found the squid looking for the keep-on-truckin' image to post :cool2:
 

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DWhatley

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At 1:00 AM I went down to get coffee and guess who was out for the first time at this hour. My neighbor brought us some actual wild caught, raw, saltwater shrimp from Savannah as a thank you for watching over their cat (such a deal!) and I had some scheduled for supper tomorrow so it was not frozen. I ran to the kitchen, prepared his shrimp-on-a-stick and hurried back but he was no longer at the back of the tank. I stuck the stick in anyway, knowing he was awake and was surprised to see that he had moved to the front in my absence. He was a little shy around the stick but just a little coaxing resulted in acceptance and a gentle tug of war. I was very concerned about him only eating one food item (and happy that I finally saw him out at a different time). Now, all I am worried about is the fact that this is a behavior change and hope this is not a bad sign as the crab I put in last night was not eaten :roll:.
 

DWhatley

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Beldar has started coming out at somewhere between midnight and 1:00 AM (Eastern STANDARD time - later now). And being visible until about 7:20. I wanted to try stick feeding him again tonight but when I went to his tank he had already found the fiddler so I left him for an hour. The Hummelinckis would need digestion time but somewhere around 15-20 minutes, Beldar seems to need a full hour. He stayed out to play when I returned but after about 30 minutes, he took a nap. I have seen him do this before but tonight I stayed through the nap time to watch. He was playing and interacting and then just glued himself to the wall and wouldn't move. Since we had been experimenting with touch, I finally reached over (he was only 6" from our designated petting corner) and petted his mantle. He did not move or change color. I did not want to do this too long but the lack of reaction was a lot like eating coma. Later he stretched, played more and then took another nap, again just ignoring the world. I took a couple of pictures that I will post later but he sat through the flashes for several shots, stretched and decided he did not like the flash and went into a den ... for a minute or two then we had some real break throughs on interaction.

With this octo and this tank, I had designated a specific corner for touching/petting. Now that he is responding to me (food is not an incentive and I have tried to avoid using it for interaction with the hummelinckis as well), we have started establishing the rules.

1. Beldar must go to the corner if he wants to play with my hand/be petted.
2. I take my hand out of the tank when he has all 8 arms on the substrate.
3. He can touch my hand/fingers with his arms but only the back side of the head and mantle (i.e. no beak side touching)

Sound silly? We had a ball. As with the Hummelincki, I am never sure which of us is the teacher and which is the student. We have had a couple of contact sessions but none as long and as interactive as this one. He willy-nillied his way to the specified corner and kept looking back at me (I was seated initially but must climb a two step ladder to reach inside the tank). Once he was in place, he stopped and waited until I got up, climbed my steps, opened the tank and put my hand in the tank. He would come and go along the top of the tank, sometimes touching with arms, sometimes just mantle, pretty similar to the hummelincki. He decided that was enough and went to the bottom, crouching on all 8 in the sand (not touching the glass). I closed the lid and sat back down.

That is when he started experiementing. He would go to the corner (he must go to the top of the tank as well), wait for me to get up and open the tank, come and get a pet then go to the bottom. If he continued to touch the tank wall, I stayed standing, if he put all 8 arms on the sand, I closed the lid and sat down. We have been doing this for 2 hours! I finally put some limits on the excercise and made him stay and wait because he had started going to the designated place and then sliding away when I would open the tank. He would, however, come back over for a pet but then go immediately to the bottom of the tank and release the glass. I could not help but laugh out loud as the intent was very obvious. It will be interesting to see what he does tomorrow.

The first two are during his second nap, notice the arms going in all directions. The last two are his carve retreat after the flash was too much for him. Unfortunately, I never see his color since I view him only in red light. This is the first glimpse I have had (though the pictures only) on how much his coloring resembles brarius.
 

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forever27

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Seems like you're finally having fun with Beldar! These guys are worth the wait for sure, as I'm finally having fun with Lennon. It's interesting that you've only seen him with the red light on, soon enough hopefully that will change. I think that I'm going to copy you with your experiments/rules next time I play with Lennon...it's a good idea and really shows off how smart they are.

Also, the third picture is really interesting and I'm glad you put it up. Whenever Lennon's done playing or eating he always goes into his den(s) arms first, then sticks his mantle up and kind of drags it in, which is usually elongated like Beldar's in that picture. Is that how Beldar usually retreats, or is it just that time?
 

DWhatley

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Then mantle drag is very common and I meant to mention it earlier. I see him doing this most anytime he climbs around on the liverock. The funky conehead (which must take a lot of mussle control as he will hold it positioned and not just drag it) is the reason for his name. He always uses the front two arms to investigate the LR before entering. He dens somwhere under the LR and has several spots to exit. When he choses the one located for good observation, I first see arm tips, then the thick part of the front arms and finally the crazy head then mantle pop out. Mentally you can almost hear a "pop" just as you see the eyes.

Not likely that I will see him without the red light as it is always on. I do supplement with some weak blue and white LED lights during the day but so far he is not to be found during the daylight.

Neal mentioned that he seemed to learn the "rules" very quickly and might point to more intellegence than I gave him credit for having. I had assumed he would not learn as easily as my hummelinckis because of size but his understanding of the rules was very obvious. I don't recall any of my others playing for this long (timed 2 hours continuous play - total time over 3). Now to see about retention and what he does tonight.
 

DWhatley

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Here are a couple more of the pictures I took Tues AM (Mon night) that show the long front arms inspecting the LR before venturing in.

He did not want to interact much last night and still refused the shrimp on a stick (but happily took a crab just after I dropped it in the tank). Paul Sachs has looked into supplying hermits at my request and has found one he can get a permit to provide. He expects to have the i's dotted and t's crossed for the permit this week so I will post when they are available.

I gave him the crab at 12:20 Eastern Daylight time and left him for about two hours. He was very actively moving around the glass on the front sides of the tank (hex shaped) but did not want interaction. He would come to my corner and visit (stand and stare at me making the stand up pose similar to the first picture) but did not go to his petting corner until about 4:00 AM. When he did decide to go and stay there, he waited for me to get up, climb my steps, open the tank and put my hand in. We played a little of our touch game (may be 5 minutes) and that was all he cared to interact for the evening. He went in for the night about 5:00 AM so his hours are changing (for the worse I am afraid, up longer but at bad times for humans).
 

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DWhatley

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Beldar will have a new cousin on Tuesday, Tom has come up with a briareus for OhToo's empty aquarium. It is supposed to have a mantle size of about 1.5 inches so I expect something on the size of the one CuttleChris has (Siva) but I will just have to wait until Tuesday to see.:goofysca:

Since his one night (morning) of super interactive activity, Beldar has not wanted to play for long. Just before he decides to retire for the morning, he will scoot up to the play corner and park himself there to wait for me and examine my fingers a little and sometimes brush his mantle on a finger for a little pet but then he goes off to bed. I may have caused some backward interaction progress in trying to insist that he eat a piece of shrimp. He has some interest in the stick but shoves the meat end away and I tried to insist that he taste the food by trying to get it closer to his mouth. That night he played on the backside of the aquarium for the rest of the night and would peek out to see if I was still in the room, then go back into the dark when he would see me (no, rushing, no color changes just an intentional, "I don't want you here" attitude. I waited until he would come out and sit in my view (he did, eventually) and decided not to try shrimp again for a long time (guess we will have to eat what I have on a salad :twisted:).

I am also having trouble with Roy's bimac longevity concept of not feeding nightly. He has cleaned out the hermits and shore shrimp (I never see him eat the shrimp but they disappear and are not in the overflow sponge or sump and have only seen one hermit carcass - photo attached). He has left one of the peppermint aptasia control shrimp alive (the second disappeared) and I am afraid he will eat it if not fed which defeats the purpose of reducing the offered food.

The photo is of his, "little old man" pose. Their webbing is a lot different from the other two I have kept. It is always visible for about resting mantle length and I can see that it extents down the arms but have never seen it spread out beyond the always visible length. When he catches a crab, it is immediately shoved into the always visible part and it makes him look like he has a second body.

One thing that continues to bother me is the odd color striping I see. He will sometimes show the normal skunk stript the the odd side strip makes me hope that he is not starting to have color control issues. Since I only seem him in red light, I can't tell anything about his patterning but the side strip is visible even with the lighting red ligthing. He does seem to show it only on the side that faces me (or the outside of the tank) and may be just a camo attempt but the flash picture of him napping on the wall is worrysome. I am also occassionally seeing the starynight coloration that Sedna mentioned and Thales was not seeing when the octo was content. I had not seen this display until about a week ago but have since seen it a couple of times. I am hoping it means nothing negative.
 

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forever27

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By the odd color stripe, are you talking about Beldar only has a skunk stripe on one side of his mantle sometimes? Usually the side that's facing you? Because I've noticed that with Lennon too.
 

DWhatley

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The stripe is not quite the same as the skunk stripe as it does not usually include the mantle and is more across the solid web section. At first I was concerned that he was having difficulty coloring but I am more relaxed with that not being the case. It does sound like the coloration is an intentional signal if you are seeing it as well and reminds me of the mating cuttlefish patterning when a female is on one side and another interested suitor on the other.

I am glad you are keeping up with my comments and I wish Richard had more time to compare notes as these guys are really quite different than the other two species I have kept.
 
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