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[Octopus]: LittleBit - O. vulgaris

DWhatley

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Little Bit (who is now way larger than Espy) has continued to interact by playing tag and typically only wants a quick touch. Her touch an go is a lot different than most of the octos I have handled and seems more of an entertainment than curiosity. I have a few video pieces of her flying around to tag but have not yet really captured the oddity of the game. Tonight, however she started her game of tag but then went to the upper corner of the tank and came over to my had a couple of times, allowing me to pet her. With females, I particularly worry about a change in behavior. It always seems that the ones that don't quickly decide to come to be petted make initial attempts just before brooding. I really hope we are not that close yet as she has been really delightful to keep and I highly recommend species for a home aquarium.
 

DWhatley

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Little Bit is fantastic and I wish we could find them more often (ours are the only O. joubini posted on TONMO). I know you said the one you kept was far more active than a mercatoris but the difference is night and day. I will need to shrink those pictures I guess, sigh. I like the new picture uploader but it does not handle some of the larger pictures.
 

DWhatley

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The first couple of years I only kept O. mercatoris but serendipitiously got an O. hummelincki and thus began a desire to keep a variety. It did not hurt that the collectors I use in the Keys have found (unknowningly) several different species for me :biggrin2: So far I have only kept one that I have no clue on his species but all others have been common, plentiful with at least known genus. Each one I am keeping at the time becomes my favorite :oops:. I would really, really like to get an adult female of whatever Monty was to see if they are large egged. Sadly, finding another of either sex is likely not going to happen.

So sad that the O. joubini is small egged. This is just a wonderful animal and nicely sized. Researchers were able to raise two past the palegic stage in a squid rearing tank. One of the survivors died with mishandling but the other did not survive through to senescence. I think I would try a breeding program if I found a species this size and I could get a genetic mix. The closest we have come (the collective TONMO we) is the limited success Rich and Roy had with the O. chierchiae and even with their contacts, they could not come up with enough animals for a successful genetic mix, but I fantasize about raising a small animal for the aquarium trade from time to time and each new species has me thinking about it.

Of note on Little Bit's species. I feel comfortable with the species call after rereading the linked article BUT, she is twice the mentioned size (3 cm in the paper and 4.5 cm in Mark Norman's book) which has Neal calling her a jougaris (joubini/vulgaris cross). After observing that octopuses detectably shrink as they go through senescence then again after being preserved and seeing other marine animals change size depending upon the amount of available food and possibly tank size, I am not sure how reliable size suggestions are for a given species (especially compounded with tank living). The arm to mantle ratio seems to fit but not mantle and arm lengths. One of the very old studies I read on O. hummelincki mentioned that a very large female drastically effected the sizing averages for the collected sample. I have kept two males close to the size of the mentioned over large female but have also kept two females that were dwarf sized when they started brooding. Either Neal is right that there is a lot of mixing and matching going on in the wild or sizes can vary significantly. At almost twice the Norman listed mantle and arm length, knock wood, Little Bit has not shown signs of brooding (but I hold my breath thinking about it).

The short answer is: 8
Octopus mercatoris
Octopus joubini
Macropus ?
abdopus ?
Octopus briareus
Octopus hummelincki
Octopus Unknown (Monty)
Octopus bimaculoides
 

DWhatley

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No question that she CAN look very much like a very small vulgaris but I have yet to see or hear of a vulgaris that can turn red :biggrin2:
 

DWhatley

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Little Bit can turn Red Red, in addition to brown red or orangey, yellow, white and brown and I usually see most of those colors when she is out but by this time El Diablo needed a 130 gallon aquarium ;>) and Little Bit is quite comfy in a 37 gallon tank.
 

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