[Octopus]: Orion. Callistoctopus Luteus

MissPH

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Okay a lot has happened this last week, the general gist of it is that Orion has become a lot more interactive! He i still shy at times - especially at the start of interaction - but he seems to have been enjoying it, and especially seems to enjoy head rubs! He has his little routine where he will pick a side of the tank and go around and around it in a circuit, touching my hand as he passes, sometimes going back and forth like he is playing a game of tag with my fingers.

Last Friday my partner took a few videos with his camera phone (strange it gets better video than a dedicated camera!) and caught some nice interaction. Although whenever Orion looked over and noticed him he started doing the old cone head with skunk stripe and staring him down through the glass! I don't think he knows what to make of having 2 people present yet.

Here are a few vids:

Cautious first touch (sorry poor quality):


Little head rub (poor quality again sorry)


General interacting:


Another little head rub is on this one:


All these videos are from a 45 minute session last Friday, Day 28.

I think I messed up a little last night - he got a little close with his beak and I instinctively flinched which seemed to displease him. He went off to do his circuits on the back of the tank where I couldn't reach instead. He did later on jet to the front of the tank and land right in front of me though, so he couldn't have been too mad at me! Fingers crossed tonight I'll get some good quality time :smile:

EDIT: Thank you very much for the cam advice DWhatley. I think it is something that will require a fair bit of research!
 

DWhatley

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There a couple of cameras (or were, mostly Nikon I think) that had night vision. You may not find that feature now but you may want to look at reviews for cameras that perform better in low light. This should be helpful with your dive trip as well, diving light bars are VERY expensive. You might want to look into the cost of a dive flashlight. It is nowhere near like having the luxury of a synchronized light but it will give you colors you won't get without an external light source.

The videos could easily have been of either Beldar or Puddles so it is nice to see my understanding of this species seems to hold. Not jumping when they start getting too familiar is hard to control, especially since you have been nipped by this one. With animals that are easier to see, you can watch for the beak to protrude but I doubt you can see it in a red light tank.
 

MissPH

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Just a quick update -

Orion has become quite a lot more friendly over the weeks and actively comes up to the top for head rubs now each night. I'm trying to feed him once every 2 days and cycle different things- he is mainly on shrimp, though. I buy big ones with she shell on and cut them up into smaller pieces to freeze and thaw out each time. He seems to enjoy feeding this way and enjoys manipulating the shells (although I can't always find where he has left them once he's done feeding!). He particularly enjoyed a langoustine tail piece with the shell on it. Best news though is he is now in a solid routine where he gets up at about 10pm each night!

I ended up going for a Sony RX100 (I didn't want to go the full SLR route and the RX100 has full manual settings if I wanted them, and is nifty in an underwater housing for diving photography from what I have read) and I am very happy with the videos it takes in low light. Here are a couple of new ones:



As you can see in the second vid he has got very into his tug o war with the feeding stick, and reaches up to the offering hand as well when he plays.

The last couple of weeks he has become quite a lot more bold and several times has held on to my hand and appeared to try and maneuver himself to "sit" on it. I have been shying away from this as I am wary of him going "beak first" towards my hand and latching on - when I gently pull away he tries me pull me back and has tried more than once to get into the position over several days. He always gets the idea in the end but he seems very eager and persistent. Has anybody else seen this behaviour or know what he is likely trying to do? I don't think he is trying to bite - he doesn't appear aggressive and isn't displaying any different colours - but I am wary of how strong he is once he has a hold of something.

My partner has fed Orion a few times when I have been working nights or been ill and has complained he seems fairly hostile towards him - displaying some extreme colours and changing his shape (flattening out his tentacles and puffing his body - I have never seen Orion do either of these!). Last time he tried to feed he reported that Orion ignored the stick and food all together and went straight to his hand and tried to latch on which I think freaked him out quite a bit. Whenever Orion has tried to do the "sitting/grabbing" thing with me it has been fairly slowly and delicately, not how he described.
 

DWhatley

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There is strong anecdotal evidence that octopuses can tell the difference in at least some people. There are suggestions that it is visual but their suckers are also chemoreceptors. Both of my son's have reported being "attacked" while feeding one or another of our animals while we have been on vacation. It was never clear if they simply interpreted behavior differently or if the animals were actually aggressive. Neal and I see a difference in how the animals react with us. He feeds them most days but they are typically (but not always) more interactive with me. I suspect it has more to do with the fact that I spend more time with them and/or that I am the one that cleans their tanks.
 

DWhatley

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Thanks @Taollan, I remembered a less formal experiment but could not find the reference :oops: (also with GPO I think) where the animal reacted positively to a keeper so they attempted to fool the octopus by substituting a "look a like" . I added this reference to the list in the External Articles on Behavior and Intelligence Experiments for easier future reference. I think all sample sizes for behavior will be small for octopuses, it is just not feasible to have a large, live collection (imagining such a lab starts me thinking about reading Lovecraft).

It was a bit sad to see Roland Anderson as the lead author. If you come across an open source with this paper, I would love to read it.

Edit: I found an editorial that summarizes this experiment from the Scorpion and the Frog
 
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