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Doing behavioral research on live joubini

Joined
Aug 28, 2007
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4
Hello everyone!
I'm new to the forum and very new to maintaining octopus. I am a senior college student and me and my professor are designing a research project on octopus behavior. We want to purchase 5 pygmy octopus (joubini) and store them in 5 separate tanks. Can anyone give any advice as to what kind of species these are and if how possible it is to perform behavioral experiments on them? Their life spans? What to feed them? Whether they are nocturnal or diurnal? Thanks for any advice and help!!

Regards,
V
 

robyn

Vampyroteuthis
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Jan 19, 2007
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Well I am certainly no expert but I had trouble getting joubini to even come out of their shelters during experiments, let alone complete any behavioural tasks. But that could have been due to any number of factors and I've only worked with them for a very brief period. I'm sure others can give you some more details about their own experiences, but from my experience they were not good for behaviour at all. I would recommend bimacs or briareus for behaviour.
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2004
Messages
352
Hello,

It's hard to say if they would make good research subjects there short life span (1-1.5 years) might be a problem if you will be using wild caught animals. They eat shrimp and crabs, and they will mostly be nocturnal. One problem is finding a source for them unless you are collecting them yourself. I think there are a few places in Florida that can get them but I do not know how often and at what times of the year. Most octopus behavior research has been done on O. bimaculoides as they live longer and are easier to get.
 

monty

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burnthestatus;100644 said:
Hello everyone!
I'm new to the forum and fairly new to maintaining octopus. I am a senior college student and I, along with a professor, am designing a research project on octopus behavior. We want to purchase 5 pygmy octopus (joubini) and store them in 5 separate tanks. Can anyone give any advice as to what kind of species these are and if how possible it is to perform behavioral experiments on them? Their life spans? What to feed them? Whether they are nocturnal or diurnal? Thanks for any advice and help!!

Regards,
V
:welcome: to TONMO! I'm not sure of the details for joubini in particular, but most dwarf species tend to be nocturnal, shy, and relatively short-lived (e.g. 6 months or so.) Dwhatley's "Trapper" was a mercatoris that broke a number of these stereotypes, though.

Did you choose joubini because of particular requirements (like you only have space for 5 pygmies, or it's the only species you can get from your supplier)?

I think the tendency to hide all the time has made the dwarf species rarely used in behavioral experiments, most of the behavioral work has been done in species like vulgaris, bimacs, and cyanea. Of course, that may mean that there is a lot to be learned in going off the beaten track, but I think a lot of the behavior of dwarfs tends to be "hiding a lot." A few folks have had some luck observing pet nocturnal dwarf species using red LED lights, but I don't know if that's been done in a lab setting. I've been researching a bit on the possibility of using laser diodes with diffusers to get red lighting that's monochromatic and outside the octopus spectral response but visible to humans, and it looks like it could work (not sure if lasers will cause weirdness with the octo's ability to perceive polarization, though, and the spectral response data I found is for GPOs anyway.)

O. Rubsecens seems to be a species that is only slightly larger than the dwarfs, but tends to be a bit more "out and about." I think they'd need a chiller, though.
 

AD2U

Blue Ring
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Aug 27, 2007
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32
burnthestatus;100644 said:
Hello everyone!
I'm new to the forum and fairly new to maintaining octopus. I am a senior college student and I, along with a professor, am designing a research project on octopus behavior. We want to purchase 5 pygmy octopus (joubini) and store them in 5 separate tanks. Can anyone give any advice as to what kind of species these are and if how possible it is to perform behavioral experiments on them? Their life spans? What to feed them? Whether they are nocturnal or diurnal? Thanks for any advice and help!!

Regards,
V
I had a Pygmy octo for about 6 months, they only come out at night and feed on live crabs and snails. You never see them unless you come to the tank at night with a flash light and then they run and hide. I also had mine eating silver sides off a feeder stick. And then he would only reach out with a arm or two and grab the food and that was it. I always had to shine a flash light at his hiding spot to make sure he was alive. They do not like any light what so ever. No MOON lights, no BLACK lights. ONLY PITCH BLACK!! Good luck with the research. Let me know how it go's.
 

Nancy

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As I understand it, joubini and mercatoris are very similar (have different egg sizes) and what is sold as joubini is often mercatoris. Several other people online have kept mercatoris, and I hope they report their results here, but there was not a lot of interaction.

Nancy
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
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I have worked on both. O. joubini is a bit more likely to leave its crevis, but only at night. The chances are probably 99% that what you can order is O. mercatoris. The one interesting bit of behaviour that I've seen was mating. It is quick and violent with the male pouncing on the female.

Roy
 

DWhatley

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I have raised one wild caught adult female Mercatoris and am raising five of her young. You are unlikely to find Joubini but very likely to find Mercatoris. If this is a consideration, they are usually readily available as adults in late December through early March. If, after your initial evaluation, you still find these attractive for your experiment, feel free to PM or email me and I will be glad to provide a short list of sources.

Adults obtained at this time of the year are not likely to live more than a month or two since the higher quantity available seems to correlate with a breeding cycle (most octopuses only live through one breeding cycle). Additionally, dwarfs large enough to catch are usually adults as the young are very small. If later in the spring is better timing, you might look for a female with eggs and attempt to raise the young for your experiments. Using the adults may be an advantage because of their naturally short life span. Additionally, the older octopuses are less likely to be as shy as the younger fry.

As has already been mentioned, behavior studies of the intelligence variety would be better done with an alternate octopus. If resources don't permit this (there are sources for some octopuses available for research that hobbiests cannot use but may prove useful) or you can't find the larger octos in the quantity you need, there are a few interesting things you might find acceptable to explore. Any work with the nocturnal octos will require a lab enviornment where you can control the ambient light. Since Mercatoris and Joubini (very hard to tell the difference except by egg size) are nocturnal, experimentation with changing the time of day, interior vs ambient lighting, red light (or varieties of red as Monty mentioned) vs blue light vs white light activity come to mind. My own limited, antidotal observations suggest that ambient light outside the tank may have more influence than the light inside the tank. A controlled experiment with this thought might prove interesting.

Quick additional notes:
I would recommend leaving a red light over the tank on 24/7.
If your nocturnal octopus is out during the day, it is within a week (or less) of dying.
Another behavioral thought would be to observer interaction/learning with other, non-octo tank mates.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
4
Thanks greatly for all of your comments.

In response to Monty's question, I believe space is the one obstacle dictating us to house dwarfs. I don't know the space requirements for bimacs, briareus, or O. Rubsecens, and whether they need additional maintenance equipment, (i.e. chiller, as monty mentioned), but I would certainly like to find these things out as well as where and for what price these other recommended species can be purchased for research. For now, it seems that the dwarf species are the most cost and maintenance effective. And, they seem to be readily available. Any links out to suppliers of these other species would be greatly appreciated.

Having said that, I am very interested in pursuing research on dwarfs as well (getting of the beaten track, as monty aptly suggested), especially studying its behavior with other non-octo mates, as dwhatley offered. I think monitoring their nightly escapades on video is another option. We’re thinking of bringing them in sometime late October—is that too early if we want them to live for several months?

Again, thanks to everyone for their help and time.
 

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