Thanks for the welcome D! I have actually been lurking around over here since joining Tonmo, after having my first fossil id'd by Kevin as a ceph, I had really never given cephalopods any thought at all. Setting out to learn what I could about ceph fossils I quickly realized how helpful it was to know something about the living cephs. Wow! I didn't know what I was getting into...Anyway after all the rambling, my point is that before reading your profile I thought you must be a marine biologist, you should have confidence oozing from your toes!
Nothing new on Cassy. She continues to come for octopets and will squeeze through my fingers but is still grabby with Neal (so I get the, "she likes you better than me" whine ). I dumped a bunch of photos off the card this week so I am posting in all three of my octo threads.
Neal gave Cassy the plastic ball we have tried on others. She grabbed it immediately (it has been ignored in the past, even with food attached) and you can see her manipulating it with her suckers but she lost interest when she decided it was not edible.
What size is her mantle and arm length these days? I looked but couldn't find an up to date guesstimate. I am trying to compare her size to Aqua. I know comparison is not reliable as their size varies greatly but it would be good to know.
Cassy does not do this with me but she will often come up to Neal's hand with all eight arms at the surface (particularly at feeding time). Possibly foolishly, we have become very unconcerned with the possibility of her biting us so Neal will let her take his hand when she does this (still with some caution but far less than when it first started). She seems to have a slight interest in what is outside of her tank but (so far) only attempts coming partially out of the water when Neal's hand is available.
That was disappointing
You didn't get the cannon in the face. I am jealous. She is wonderful.
WOOO!! that last frame would make an awesome photo.
So now Cassy has become "the other woman". Looks like you need to monitor their relationship closely.
I am keeping my that the mating goes well. I know how special these two are to you and Neil. I know you will but...keep the camera handy. This will be an "on the edge of my seat suspenseful" event.
The frame with the bent arms above the water does look like a good Sci-Fi teaser I may have to see if I can clip it but typically, stills from AVI's are not worth the effort.
We have not planned the finer details yet but the game plan is to remove the rock on the right side of Tatanka's aquarium and expect him to flee to the left in the process (assuming he is not there already). I don't think I will have to do anything to keep him on the left with a bare tank on the right. Next will be to coax Cassy into a container. I am not sure that she will fit into my favored fish mover and I don't know how she will react to something foreign in her tank. Roy recommends adding the male to the females home but monitoring would be much more difficult in Cassy's tank. Once we are able to move Cassy, the unknown fun begins. Roy advises keeping a stiff bottle brush, net and turkey baster at the ready and to expect mating almost immediately if it is going to happen. If there is aggression or when the deed is done, we will try to get them on opposite sides of the split tank and return Cassy to her known environment but Roy also mentions that the first one caught is likely to be the best one to remove to the other aquarium.
I did some rough calculations on Kooah's age (counting backward from when she died) and concluded that if we wanted to attempt a breeding with Cassy and Tatanka, that ten months would be the longest we should wait. Both octopuses seem to have been showing off for each other for the last month and Cassy's mantle seems to be getting fuller so we decided to make the attempt at 9 months in fear of losing the opportunity. I wrote Roy for some suggestions and tried to incorporate his response into our set up. He mentioned that putting the male in with the female seemed to work best but our tank setups percluded that thought. We did arm ourselves with a bottle brush, a large net and a turkey baster and use a bare tank (well, half of one) in the attempt.
Cassy watched the entire time I emptied the right side of Tatanka's aquarium. NOTE TO SELF: Never remove sand substrate with bare hands.
Mating O. Briareus - Preparation
I found a pitcher that would fit comfortably into the opening of Tatanka's tank but was still large enough for Cassy. The fish mover gismo I have used in the past was way too small. We placed an opaque panel to cover the passage between the two tanks to prevent Tatanka from coming across before Cassy was comfortable. Since he does not come out with the lights on, we tried to lure him awake with a piece of shrimp. Initially we were afraid he would not come out but once he was aware of Cassy in the tank he was across the tube before you could see him. Video coming soon.
Mating O. Briareus - Panic City I have had an O. mercatoris pair to mate in one of my aquariums but they were born in the tank and lived together all of their lives so mating was on their own time schedule. Putting two much larger animals together for the first time and knowing that they may attack on another rather than mate is an entirely different experience. Needless to say, I felt shear panic when Tank dashed through the connecting tubes and completely covered Cassy. We interviened enough to expose Cassy's mantle (she was not struggling but I worried about Tank sufficating her - except, I initial had the octos confused and thought she was sufficating him edit: it appears our fears were well grounded). I did not get stills of the intervention but caught a little in the video (mostly just the our backs though). Neither octopus fled our interference not did they try to attack, full concentration was centered on the opportunity to mate. Cassy is the "white" octopus and Tatanka is in red (we have never seen him display white so it helped us decided who was who, part of the time). In the first photo octo "parts" that show as white are Cassy but she is fully engulfed in Tank's web After much panic and attempts using a brush, hands and a net, Tank moved down a bit so that we could see that Cassy was still breathing With just a little more coaxing, he remained positioned so that Cassy's mantle was fully exposed and at least the humans breathed easier. They stayed for about (looking at the photo times) 15 minutes in this position Then, of course there was the obligatory
Unfortunately, it is choppy, grainy and poorly focused but it tells the event.
Was the mating a success?
I have some concerns. Watching the O. mercatoris mating I could see a "shoulder" being formed on the male where the semaphores were gathered before being sent down the hectocotylus, I did not see any swelling on Tatanka's arm.
After they separated and rested, Tank slowly made his way over to Cassy. We decided to end the meeting at this point, again with concerns about agression but he seemed only to be reaching for her with an exploring arm and not in the attack mode we saw with the introduction. In retrospect, we probably should have allowed them to remain together longer.
Should we attempt a second meeting?
I hope not but I will try to get Roy's input on the chances of this being successful. They stayed quite still for close to 15 minutes and there was a definite end to the coupling (ended by Cassy) so I am hoping this means they were mating but in addition to not seeing a swelling in Tank's arm, I could not positively see insertion of the arm tip. (The video did show the tip waving around and seaching).
I have never encountered issues with brissel worms leaving their bristles in my hands even accidentally handling them during water changes. I don't wear gloves in tanks without stinging corals just because they make working in the aquarium difficult, however, I will never clean out sand substrate again with my bare hand. I felt the bristles soon after cleaning the tank and now my hand is itching like crazy. I expect it may swell by morning.