Beldar - Callistoctopus aspilosomatis ?

DWhatley

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With Lennon's passing, I wanted to give an update on Beldar and hope Thales will mention Zod's health. She is slowing down but still eating. Her color has been spotchy for over a month but she will come for at least one short pet most nights (much less time and much less enthusiasm than earlier) and I occassionally see her "dancing". She has stopped eating frozen shrimp and I almost wonder if it is because it is tough. She will happily take fiddlers (alive or dead), opened clams and thawed shore shrimp but will have nothing to do with the regular shrimp on a stick (I haven't tried handfeeding a smaller piece of it recently though and all the accepted menu items are hand fed). I am still expecting her to brood her final two weeks so I am always relieved when I find her on the tank wall each night.
 

DWhatley

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We went away for a week and had my son feed the tanks. Since Luis is usually in bed when Bel feeds, he put in two live fiddlers every night but never saw Beldar (the fiddlers disappeared though). The night we returned, Bel did not come out until very late and I was startled by the size of her mantle. I swear it has grown an inch in the week we were gone. I missed her last night and she has not yet come out tonight but I did see two arms scouting the sand (normally she comes out to see me once I see an arm but not tonight). We brought back some live shrimp (the eating kind, not shore shrimp) and put one in both SueNami's and Beldar's tanks. SueNami's shrimp was stalked and missed but disappeared. The shrimp in Bel's tank is still swimming about. With the mantle growth and the survival of the shrimp, I continue to think we are heading into a brooding phase but seeing her arms poking about makes me think we still have some time with her.
 

jeramhyde

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dwhatley;138559 said:
I was startled by the size of her mantle. I swear it has grown an inch in the week we were gone...

With the mantle growth and the survival of the shrimp, I continue to think we are heading into a brooding phase but seeing her arms poking about makes me think we still have some time with her.

got any new pics?
 

DWhatley

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No pictures and I am afraid there won't be any more. I have not seen Bel out of her den for three nights (nightly crab offering disappears by morning though). Tonight I used a white light flashlight to look in her primary den and spotted her. She has never liked white light (and used to wait on the dark side of the tank until I would turn off the kitchen light if it was left on past feeding time) so I expected to see her move away from the flashlight. In stead she just moved some of her arms around and stayed positioned with her mantle on the substrate and other arms up into the rock. Try as I would, I could not see any eggs but suspect we may be at the end soon. She is expected to be a small egged species (there is at least one large egged variety in the complex) and she has been in the aquarium long enough that it is unlikely she has mated and retained the spermataphores so I don't expect any chance at all to work with the fry. Oddly, if she is brooding, she did not gather up any of the readily available shells to seal off her den.
 

DWhatley

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Bel still is not coming out of her den. I check on her a couple of times a day/night since I can peer inside with a flashlight (switched to red to minimize upsetting her but she sees it and reacts some). Her mantle is no longer on the substrate but she "sticks" to one crevice just out of vision and only the arm reaction (sometimes I see a small amount of mantle) to the light lets me know she is still hanging in there. We will be gone for the weekend and possibly a couple of days beyond (visiting with son and very pregnant daughter-in-law for the 4th) and I am hoping Bel will still be brooding (assuming this is what she is doing) when we return. I would like the chance to see her once more in the open but am not confident I will have the opportunity.:cry:
 

DWhatley

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Bel, as expected, continues to stay confined to her den. She never blocked the entrance and I think she is still eating but she does not move her body from an unseen rock crevice. I check on her a couple of times a day and she will move her arms in the annoying light of my flashlight but I never see her eyes. Some days her mantle is laying on the substrate but the head and eyes are out of view (and I don't see her in this position at night for some reason).

I have been putting live crabs in the tank as close to her den as I can manage or chase them. It appears that she kills them when they visit and I see shells that show the crabs have been consumed but I can't be sure if she is simply protecting her "eggs" (not sure if there are any and don't expect they would be viable if there are) and killing a potential threat of if she is also eating her kill. I may try putting a dead crab at the den entrance to see if it disappears.

I am not sure how long she will brood. From the journals of aculeatus, it appears that small egg species only broods about 10 days in 78 deg water. For the two large egg species journaled, 8 and 10 weeks looks normal. If the aculeatus (and I think the one hummelincki was similar) is indicitive of small egg hatching times, she should come out of her den soon. However, none of the small egg females journaled continued to eat a week after brooding and my mercs ate live, then only dead and then nothing so I really don't have a feel for how long she will continue to try to hatch the eggs.
 

DWhatley

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Post Brood Appearance

Bel came out tonight and I spotted her around 3:00 AM. She acted like an animal that had just been released from a cage and was in constant motion for over an hour. With the red lights, I can't tell much about her color but the flash showed it as a light pink where pre-brood she showed a deep brown red. Her mantle is back to the size before we went on vacation but her funnel looks enormous. I did not see any signs of fry but had expected that the eggs would not be fertile.

I shot a few pictures and the light did not seem to bother her so I suspect she is not seeing too well (she is not blind). She did come up to my hand one time and gently touch my finger and on another stop during her fly bys she allowed me to pet her mantle but mostly she was circling the tank going in and out of all the LR holes.

I tried to feed her and she examined the dead crab and dead shrimp but did not eat them. I put a live crab in the tank and she rousted it about several times but never put it to sleep. Watching her flail her arms around made me think she was hungry and I remembered Trapper showing similar arm behavior after brooding so I offered Cyclop-eeze. Bel definitely noticed it and came out where I was melting it in the tank. Trapper would eat it from a pipette so I will try that with Bel if she survives the night.
 

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DWhatley

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Senescent Restlessness

As with the mercatoris' senescent behavior Beldar is coming out during the day as well as at night. She is very restless and goes in an out of the LR or circles the tank without purpose or direction. If she sees me she will come to the front but does not seem to be able to mentally focus. She has molested a crab but not killed it, ignores any offerings on a stick but seems to take an interest in Cyclop-eeze.

Today she looks like she will not make it another day. She is having major problems controlling her mantle (it kind of slops around when she moves) but her arms still seem to be coordinated.

I posted a daylight video of her coming out of her den and another of her restless behavior
 

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