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Octo Capturing Methods?

ravenschild

Cuttlefish
Registered
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
18
Hello, I'm going to be going out soon to capture octopuses for my research, and I would like advice for what sort of containers to use to carry them about while I'm down there. I'll be using a concentrated saltwater sol'n to flush them out of their holes (*not* bleach), but I don't know if I should be using jars, or baggies, or what?

Note: the octos I'm looking for are rather small, about the size of your thumb.

Note #2: all octos will be released back where they were captured after being observed, none will be sacrificed or deliberately harmed. Any advice I get hopefully will keep me from accidentally harming them.
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
662
Sounds south of the border. Hope you have your permits in order!

We use "cubitainers". They come in several sizes (1 L up), are light weight, easy to carry and tough as nails. Also, the neck of the container pulls up into a cone making it relatively easy to get the octopus back out.

Roy
 

Taollan

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
Joined
Aug 17, 2005
Messages
301
I am in about the same stage of planning some of my research, and also looking for capture methods of octopus. Does the concentrated saline solution seem to work? I have heard that the opposite, freshwater to flush them out of their dens, doen't work and in fact only causes them to become more entrenched in the den, or go deeper into it.
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2004
Messages
352
You could try a 10% ethanol solution, it will anesthetize them and have no long term effects. What species are you looking for? In many cases I have found small species in broken pieces of barnicle and could take the whole thing to the surface.
 

ravenschild

Cuttlefish
Registered
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
18
Ok, dive #1 happened, I found no octos. There were some ... problems with dive #1.

So, Taollan, I can't yet tell you how well concentrated salt water works. I don't really have an idea of that yet. I'm not sure I was in the ideal habitat. Maybe I'll have a better idea next time.

I don't know about a 10% ethanol solution, since they'll probably be deep in tiny holes, and if I knock them out while they're in there I'll never get them.

I was given the advice of using mesh bags that tie at one end that one can find in paint stores. Filter bags, I think they are. Theyr'e supposed to not hurt the octopus due to lack of rough edges. Maybe I'll get to see if that works eventually.

Thanks for everyone's advice!
 

marineboy

Wonderpus
Registered
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Messages
184
if your in california, I can give you a good sum of knowledge on catching octopus because thats my life!!!!!

Even if your not collecting here I can give you a couple tips...

#1: Aim for tidepools rather than diving/snorkeling. I say this because tidepools brings the reef to you instead of you going to the reef. plus in the tidepools the octo's are cornered and exposed making it much easier to catch them. I have found that in the ocean when you eventually find one (its pretty hard) they can get away alot easier because they have a lot of room to swim and when they feel like it they can get FAST. PLus in the tidepools there caves are normally exposed so they wont retreat to them and if they do they are easily pried out.

#2: if you must dive, look under spots where the reef ends. What I mean by this is usually there will be stretches of reef or eel grass and then it will drop off and there will be an overhang right about there and thats were ive found they like to hide most of the time. but watch out for lobsters! I find they like to be wedged in there to sometimes and ive gotten a little rude awakening when I throw my head in there!

#3: luring them out of there dens with a small piece of mussel may be better than forcing them out of there dens because it may cause less stress and they get a free meal.
 

marineboy

Wonderpus
Registered
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Messages
184
if your in california, I can give you a good sum of knowledge on catching octopus because thats my life!!!!!

Even if your not collecting here I can give you a couple tips...

#1: Aim for tidepools rather than diving/snorkeling. I say this because tidepools brings the reef to you instead of you going to the reef. plus in the tidepools the octo's are cornered and exposed making it much easier to catch them. I have found that in the ocean when you eventually find one (its pretty hard) they can get away alot easier because they have a lot of room to swim and when they feel like it they can get FAST. PLus in the tidepools there caves are normally exposed so they wont retreat to them and if they do they are easily pried out.

#2: if you must dive, look under spots where the reef ends. What I mean by this is usually there will be stretches of reef or eel grass and then it will drop off and there will be an overhang right about there and thats were ive found they like to hide most of the time. but watch out for lobsters! I find they like to be wedged in there to sometimes and ive gotten a little rude awakening when I throw my head in there!

#3: luring them out of there dens with a small piece of mussel may be better than forcing them out of there dens because it may cause less stress and they get a free meal.

#4: I like to use baby food jars (cleaned out vigourosly) to hold them in but dont leave it out in the sun or it will heat them up fast. I like the baby food jars to because the glass alows you to see the octopus more closely. Especially if there really small octo's like you said.
 

ravenschild

Cuttlefish
Registered
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
18
Hrm. Those are ideas. I may try the babyfood jar thing. I'd been attempting to use these mesh baggies because I was told that the lack of hard surfaces made it less likely for them to get hurt. But the transfering about then causes troubles.

Does the mussel thing really work? I mean, when you don't know that there is an octopus in the hole you're inspecting, does waving about a bit of food make them come out quickly? Or is it sufficiently time-consuming that it wouldn't be worth it if you didn't know you had an active den?

The aweful thing is, I've not actually been able to do another dive. Every time I arrange to go out with someone, something comes up to kill it. Now that I'm willing to try a night dive, I've got more options, but if I wasn't a skeptic I'd think the diving gods are trying to make sure I don't get in the water again.
 

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