New Octopus - Need help identifying!!


Pygmy Octopus
Mar 26, 2016
New Jersey
Hey All!

Posted on here a little while ago about our amazing Inky (abdopus definitely, aculeatus maybe) and before that about our first octopus, Octo. Thank god for this website!!!! It is so hard to find any information on Octopus, which I can't even believe in this day and age! Thank you in advance for the help!!

Inky passed away about a month ago. Held on incredibly long after laying eggs. Almost two full months after. Quite the fighter. We realized that we wanted another abdopus without a doubt and our LFS told us they had a Caribbean Reef Octopus. This is what they had sold Inky to us as. My boyfriend and I both know that the names the fish stores give are useless. He has been hoping for Briareus. The typical species they show when googling Caribbean Reef Octopus.

He took the Octopus and brought him home when I saw him I knew right away he definitely wasn't abdopus, and I just can't make a positive ID. The LFS say they just go by what the wholesaler tells them it is and we understand. I've gone through numerous threads on this site and it's half a dozen either way. This guy is small. MUCH smaller than Inky was. Inky we know for sure was an abdopus something. It's just those small characteristics that are spot on with the species. However, the aculeatus has this pointy end to his head in almost every picture or video I've seen. Inky had a full head, not really round, but full, not pointy! That's enough on him!

This one is not as easy was my point. I've seen him shine a bright greenish color, similar to that of some briareus. However, he is very, very small. His legs are usually curled up but they just don't seem that long compared to his head. His resting color can vary, we do have a lot of purple rocks in our tank. While Inky would be a dozen different colors in a minute and another dozen different textures, this guy doesn't seem to have as much variety.

We have seen NO texture changes. He seems to have this constant sandy texture to him. Almost like a nail file or sand paper. Eyes are definitely prominent and round. Tire like. Usually, he's a reddish-brown, or a real deep red. I've seen him lighten up to a bluish white. Last night was the first time he really came out and moved about. I believe he was looking for food. He at one point seemed almost to have a marble pattern (picture attached) but then would go back to the dark red/brown. The way he changes is just so different from Inky.

Our first Octopus we never identified the species. From day one he wouldn't eat. He slowly starved and went through senescence. He changed color maybe a week so we don't really know species traits except for in the abdopus family. He seems to come out during day, not at night. Yesterday, light was on day and he was all over the glass. Didn't seem scared at all. Kept his eye on me. His legs curl but not corkscrew. His behavior was not that of senescence. He had a purpose, he wasn't just going up and down or playing.

He has a den he seems to like and a rock he will also hide in. He's grabbed some shells for his den. We got a crayfish for him and to our shock he ate the whole thing. It was almost his whole size!!! We did not see it go down. We see some webbing. Haven't seen any parachute type of webbing though. He seems like a sweetheart. We just don't know if he is a dwarf species of some kind. A baby briareus which I doubt but my boyfriend is giddy for.

Some possibilities I came to when looking through old threads, excuse the spellings, were maricopus, boki? bocki?, briareus, Beldar's Picture.

Sorry to ramble on. Any help would be so appreciated!!! Thank you!!!!! image1.JPG image2.JPG image4.JPG image7.JPG
Thank god for this website!!!!
Thank YOU for contributing! What a great set of pics; nice work. :thumbsup:
However, he is very, very small.
Can you quantify this in any way?
A baby briareus which I doubt but my boyfriend is giddy for.
briareus would indeed be cool. fwiw, bocki seems like it could be a good guess, but I'm not an expert and a bit rusty in perusing different species threads. We haven't seen a whole lot of different tank species lately, so it's nice, and fun, to see something different. I am hopeful one of our resident experts (or even casual observers with some thoughts) will swing by soon. Please consider starting a journal, too - would love to follow the journey!
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I agree with @tonmo on it likely being O. bocki. We have seen several in the last year as well as having a report of them showing up for science experiments. The tractor trailer tire eyes are the biggest clue that would suggest O. bocki over O. mercatoris (a common Caribbean dwarf). Additionally, I have never seen the mercs reflect green.
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I actually think this is a briareus. Octopus bocki is Indonesian, and doesn't seem to have the green sheen that is so characteristic of briareus - this look very different to the bocki we thought we had in the lab. The orange eye and green hue in the first picture on Jenelle's second post look convincing to me. I have seen the very prominent eye bulges on small briareus before.
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Thanks @robyn I have not seen O. bocki except in photos and the oval eyes are the most striking feature that have been presented. I went back into some of my older threads looking for an O. briareus about this size and found a video of Yeti that confirms your note on their eyes looking quite bulgey. Of the animals I have kept, only two have shown the green fluorescence so it is helpful to know that O. bocki does not.
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Thanks everyone for your input. I had the same problem of not being sure whether he was an o. briareus or o. bocki. An interesting thing to note is that the fluorescent green is ONLY when light is shining on him directly. The photos you see it I had my camera light on him. In the photos I see of o. briareus it is such a prominent color in almost every picture regardless of lighting. I wonder if anyone knows of the possibility o. bocki can display the fluorescent green if the lighting and mood is right. It is just interesting how is color seems to lean towards that rusty red color more often than not. The fluorescent green is almost always seen above the eyes.

As far as size is concerned, I'm not good with inches and all that. I do know in the one picture of him below you see a camel shrimp. He is not that much bigger than the camel shrimp so I hope that quantifies a bit exactly what I meant by him being small. His coloring is just so blah compared to Inky (abdopus ??), he's cool and he's a tough one. Been eating well although he wimped out on a Crayfish that was rather large. In his defense we thought it was too big for him too.

I haven't seen much growth in him - but I'm not sure just how big O. briareus can get, so still hoping he is a young one. No signs of aging that we've seen before so hopefully things stay this way!

Thanks for the help and I've included a few more pictures, just in case some of the new ones we've gotten help point out something more definitive.

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The picture with the brownish mantle and white arms screams O. briareus, as does your description of the blue/green around the eyes. Their arms get quite long (1' per arm is a minimum) and the body about the size of a tangerine. The only colors they display are the white and some form of what I call a peachy brown. The body texture will be minimal (just small pimple like bumps). Personalities run the gamut from shy to interactive. They are listed as nocturnal but easily learn a regular feeding time in the early evening.

This shot of @Animal Mother 's Kalypso is one of my all time favorite O. briareus photos

I did fail to mention the fluorescent green as this is not from chromataphores. You will see it as bright blue around the eyes in the young and as tiny spots on the entire body when the light hits them right. Divers use their dive lights to try to find them this way. The eye blue and later green can be seen in the daytime with regular lighting but the body spots are not always visible. An oddity I noticed on one dead animal was that the fluorescent green speckles seemed like a thing skin over the normal skin. I have never done a dissection and am not sure why this was only apparent on one animal but it was interesting (though a sad observation at the time).
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Thank you all so much for your help! It's taken a long time to get to this point and a lot of learning about Octopus and especially the ones we have kept... but now we can say we have officially identified all 3 of our Octopus! It is so weird how great it is to actually know the species. If it wasn't for this site we would truly be in the dark so thanks everyone for pooling knowledge and resources!

I couldn't believe Day One with our first Octopus googling information on keeping one as a pet and finding this website and maybe a handful of general articles from webpages that were as old as the internet. We still aren't 100% on Inky's species although confident it is in the Abdopus family which is good enough for us. Shame that enough isn't being put into really learning about these animals and having a dependable identification guide. I see so many questions that only this site has the answers to and the answers come from regular people sharing what they have observed!

Sorry to ramble! I'm young and I never thought there would be something difficult to Google. I thought we were finished learning about Octopus and every other animal out there and I was so wrong! Seeing people share knowledge like this is really powerful. Doing the work normally the scientists would do.

Thanks Tonmo and all who replied and continue to contribute!
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Years ago I set a mental goal to try to develop something to ID octos. The more I learn and the more photos I see, I understand why no simple diagnostic exists. Many species can resemble another at given instances (ie a photograph). Some of the in situ videos are helpful for some species because the animal may, over a period of time, display one of its most identifying characteristics (ex: white circles on the arms and a dark eyespot for Cyanea - without the display, it looks a lot like vulgaris). Most often it is easier to eliminate certain species but exact ID can be impossible. Some of the Abdopus genus have not even been described and possibly may only separated through invasive procedures after death.

That being said, for the hobby, we tend to see many of the same species and can often get close enough to point to a few journals to help a keeper know what to expect.
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