meeting a local - Situ(O.gibbsi or O.tetricus)


Oct 4, 2008
Coffs Harbour N.S.W.Australia
This is one of the many local octopus that I have come across during my wanderings down the headland. Going by it's size and how long it's been in the same rock pool (that I've known it for) it must be fully grown as in it can reach about 40 to 50cm or about 20". After visiting it nearly every weekend for several months I'm sure it got to know me, as quite often as I approached it den it would just sit there and not retreat. After several visits and a bit of bribery (feeding) it used to reach out and either hold onto the camera or my fingers. So here's a series of pictures that show how it used to greet me. haggs








Nancy ...I have no idea about what speices it may be, I was hoping someone else might shed some light on that for me.

Nice resolution what sort of camera are you using? Very cool shots
It's a Canon... wait for it........ 3.2mp Power shot A75, I've had it for a bit over 4 years. I actually wore out my first one and managed to pinch my son's, so that I could still use the same housing. I'm still very impressed with this little camera.
Most of those shells look like Dicathais orbita (common here in New Zealand) to me (used to be called Thais orbita). I've never seen a local (NZ) octopus eat them though (I realise that you are in Australia).

The octopus is rather (Australian name) Octopus tetricus like, but it's difficult to know as I recall reading that there were three-or-so species tied up in this complex (something in NZ, very similar, is O. gibbsi). I don't like identifying species from photos, and I don't know the Australian fauna well enough to know what this thing is/could be.
Nice shots.
I actually have never seen them eating those shells either, it maybe that they were convenient for “hiding behind”.

I went back there again yesterday afternoon and I have a bad feeling that all of my friends have gone out to sea to lay their eggs and die. It’s now been 2 weeks without seeing any sign of them being there, no empty shells … no Chitton carcasses, nothing.

Heres a picture of one of the rock pools, the blury spots are from water on the lens. haggs

I hope your buddies children find your wonderful spot (one of my Mercatoris - dwarf Caribbean species - took her mother's den, mated and brooded there). How big is that "tide pool"? It looks huge and ohhhh so inviting. Can you reach it from land? (In the keys there are lots of shallows far out from land but I know nothing of Australia's water depths). Also, it is always warmer than the surrounding ocean?

Humm, I wonder if OhToo would eat Chitons. What kind of food do you offer and how do you offer it to them? I have only had the opportunity to see one octo in the wild (last summer) and it didn't cross my mind to attempt to find something to offer (all I could think about was getting a decent photo - 48 trys 4 decent pics after adjustments :biggrin2:)

It is interesting to see that brown stripe that runs in front of the eye and likely behind as well as the brown triangle between the eyes. Hummelincki also shows the stripe pattern (and the eye camoflage) and I was noticing and commenting on the triangle tonight (I had not seen it on my prior Hummelincki). I wonder if these are typical markings of many octos or if there is a close relationship. About how large would you guess the mantle (above the eyes to the back of the body) was on this one? Also, can you approximate arm length to mantle length? From someone elses guessed Marginaris, the size and basic coloring is similar to the Hummelincki (small but not dwarf).

Now I am anxious to try out my birthday present (housing) with my Xmas present (G9), of course it still takes a good photographer but I am encouraged!
Sorry for not mentioning the size of the pool, I had a visitor and just posted it then realized what I had forgotten.

This particular pool is close to 5mtrs left to right and about 7mtrs from the camera fowards, there is aalso another channel the runs off to the left out of the image that would add anther metre or 2 to the width. At the moment its only about 1 mtr deep due to some rough sea that has filled it with sand, normally it's a bit deeper.

The island itself is only 80mtrs or so off the beach, due to the high tide you need to swim that at most low tides you can walk in up to waste deep. Summer time it can be up to 5 degrees warmer than the ocean especially if we have several days of calm seas. Ohhh... and Monday afternoon it was about 21 degrees and ever so nice....haha.

I don't normally make a habit of feeding them, however it's more what I have found outside their lairs, it has taken along time to figure out what these little blue moon shaped shells were from. Until about a month ago it must have just disgarded the Chiton body and it was still intact and hey presto I knew what it was.
I will find some pictures side-on or maybe a bit of video to show what you are after, but now I have to go to work. haggs
That looks like a spot I would have to visit often, 21 c. s a bit chilly for me to be in the water though, hopefully it is about 10 degrees warmer later in the summer. I recently tried 3 chitons (assuming these are the same creatures) in my tanks. Two died in less than a week but the largest is doing well in the reef (I think they may have drown as they appeared healthy on arrival). I wish the timing of your post had been different as I would have put one of the dead ones in with OhToo to see if he took an interest. The one in the reef stays near the surface and has pipe to crawl on and seems to be able to navigate the black acrylic without problems. One of the two that died had crawled to the sump and was fine but when placed back in the tank, expired. The second was placed in a 4' deep tank with clear acrylic sides. Anecdotal evidence suggests that they my have trouble navigating clear walls and need surface air. Any clue on how they reproduce? It would be nice to come up with a new live food that could be tank raised.

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