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New octo is shy

octoqueen

Blue Ring
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Oct 7, 2010
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30
Hi everyone. I've posted before with some previous octopi (or octopuses :smile: questions, but its been a while. I moved to college and got involved in the marine lab up here. I am helping out with the oct tank and we just got one in three weeks ago. He is eating fine and seems to be doing well as far as my experience tells me. But he just won't come out. I know he is probably nocturnal, or there is a possibility that he is a juvenile, but does anyone have an idea on how maybe I can coax him out. I realize this is normal octopus behavior, but everyone in the lab is dying to see him. We also give tours occationally and I think the kids that come in would love to interact with him. I put some toys in there thinking maybe he would venture out, but it didn't work. Any ideas on how to get him to switch his schedule would be great.
Thanks
Kami
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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Kami,

As sk252006 mentions, determining the species will go a long way toward making suggestions. Can you describe it in terms of:

Mantle length and girth (compare to an object like a grape, lemon,tangerine)
Arm to Mantle Ratio (arms are x times longer then the mantle - the octopus bag like body after the eyes)
What colors have you seen on the mantle? on the arms?
Any distinctive markings (stipes, spots - particularly below the eyes or all over the body)
Are the eyes large and set up on stalks?
Do you know the body of water where it originated?
Has anyone seen it out at night?

The best way I have found to view a nocturnal (we'll assume that for the moment) is to make the ambient area dark and use a red light on the tank. True nocturnals (vs crepuscular or early AM and early PM foragers) are not prone to switching to daylight and IMO when you do see a nocturnal in daylight, it is a sign of senescence. My personal thought is that it hurts their eyes and as they age the eye sight is lost.
 

octoqueen

Blue Ring
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Oct 7, 2010
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30
We don't know what species he is, but I might be able to find out where he came from. Just looking at him briefly while in the bag and occationally during feeding, he is most often a brown/tan color with no specific markings such as eye spots. His mantle, I would say is three or four inches long. Arms are long, but robust, not thin or stringy. Most of the time the eyes are big and round, not pointy like some of the octopus pictures I've seen.
As far as seeing him at night, I have used red lights with my octos at home, but here I don't have a key to get into the lab at night to observe him (I am asking my professor for one though). But every morning he is in a new spot, so I am assuming he is moving around at night.
Hope this helps and thanks for the replies.
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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Kami,
Go to Forums->Journals and Photos and look at the top. You will see threads "stuck" at the top of the forum and the ones labeled List of Our Octopuses 20xx are the ones I want you to see. Open one of the lists and pick a species then click on the species name and view the photographs. There are quite a few octos but only a few species to examine. With that sized mantle and tan coloration, we have very few. Look especially at our only O.vulgaris, el Diablo as the vulgaris would fit your description and are crepuscular (and are one of the few that may acclimate to mimized light, el Diablo is quite diurnal). Also, DaveLin also kept a series of animals found at an Asian market that we suspect are from Korea that would match your description.

An arm to mantle ratio would be helpful rather than long :biggrin2: and inch sizes have been stated sooooo far off that a comparison to a fruit or ball (coins are often used but don't help with girth) tends to be more accurate, especially when going from memory.

Most of the ones we keep are from the Caribbean with a few from Indonesia so if this one is a Pacific animal or imported from elsewhere, we are unlikely to have pictures. If you find a photo of one that might match, read the journals to see if the behavior is similar and about how long it took the octopus to become comfortable with humans.
 

octoqueen

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Oct 7, 2010
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I guess it could be O. vulgaris, though it is much darker and has slightly longer arms compared to the mantle size. It also bears some general similarity to Puddles and Mr. Squiggles, but I really haven't got a good enough look at it to be sure. Those two caught my eye because we got ours from Live Aquaria and were told it came from Indonesia.
I would say mantle size is about equal to a tangerine.
Hope this helps and thanks,
kami
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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From Live Aquaria it is almost assured not to be O. vulgaris but the mantle size has me wrinkling my brow. Robust arms are not typical of A. aculeatus and Puddles was a fairly small Macropus (small lemon sized mantle at full adult). The Macropus, however, would not show a gold color and only the front 4 arms have much thickness or length.

How long has it been in the aquarium?
 

octoqueen

Blue Ring
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Oct 7, 2010
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Looking at the pictures again, I agree with you. I think it was mostly the brownish color that caught my eye. But I have Dunlop and King's ceph book in front of me and on pages 27 and 154 there are some O. vulgaris that look very similar to mine, just bigger. Is O. vulgaris indigenous to Indonesia?
I managed to get into the lab last night and stayed for about an hour after closing. He never ventured out, even with all the lights off, which surprised me. This morning he wasn't interested in any food either. Maybe I stressed him out by looking at him last night? I thought about putting some black trash bags on the sides of the tank. Do you think this would make him more apt to venture out during the day?
 

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