Cassy is still with me and I am hoping she will make it three more days to reach her birthday but she has restless arms and has been breathing heavily since the hatching. Sadly, I have not seen a hatchling since about the third day. The two that I removed did not swim properly. One I found dead the next day and the other disappeared.
I should not matter but when Cassy continued to survive after the eggs hatched, I was wishful that she would survive for a full year. I know it is an arbitrary marker but I am happy she is still here today. Her breathing has been heavy since before the hatching and she only moves her arms out of the den but she is aware when I search the tank for little survivors (none found) and gets restless when I play the red light over the rocks.
I have been meaning to record an oddity in her behavior. Prior to the eggs hatching she gathered snail shells and placed them along the far edge of her aquarium (outside the den, the den proper she keeps clear of sand and debris). I have noticed that they get rearranged often but she does not leave the den (her arms can reach them but the are not conveniently accessable). While looking for hatchlings, I noticed she had a small krill in her suckers and hoped she planned to eat it but instead she placed it on the sand near but not on the shells. Something small was moving it (I think it was a spaghetti worm). When a brissle worm came to investigate, she picked up the shrimp and moved away from the brissle. As far as I know, there is no evidence that the female prepares a place for the hatchlings to live or any suggestion that they would try to feed them after hatching but the observation was curious.
For anyone reading not familiar with post brood behavior, is is commonly observed that the female will exit her den just before dieing. My own guessing on this in an aquarium environment is an escape of the clean up crew as the skin starts to deteriorate but the animal is still alive. I offer a wall mounted breeder net for the last day(s) once this occurs. After posting early this AM, I placed a net on the wall for Cassy and encouraged her to rest in it. Her skin has taken on a slimy feel and there is little muscle (O.briareus become very slimy at death, noticeably more than other species I have kept). It was not difficult to coax her into the net (she can leave if she chooses) but she kept her arms along the hard surfaces for support until I went to bed. This afternoon (ie when I got up )she has assepted the net as a resting place and is letting it support her. It is out in the open and light exposed and I was surprised to see her showing pink rather than grayish white so I am sure she can detect light and I turned off the aquarium light over her half of the tank.
Cassy died this evening. I knew this morning that today was likely to be her last as she was upside down in the net. I righted her and she stayed upright until she quietly stopped breathing.
We try to take photos with a ruler if an animal is found before deteriorating. Measurements while alive are difficult and inaccurate. At death, they are smaller (In this case the mantle is both shorter and thinner than displayed while alive) but it give a consistent measurement for reference on size for the species.