[Octopus]: Puddles - Callistoctopus aspilosomatis ?


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Sep 4, 2006
2015 edit: Roy posted a photo of Calioctopus aspilosomatis that looks very much like the unknown Macropuses (aspilosomatis was originally placed in the Macropus complex macropus is now listed in the Callistoctopus genus) we have seen, including Puddles.

I used my credit with LiveAquaria to try for an aculeatus. I wanted a diurnal animal again but I knew that was not going to be the case when I opened the bag and found a little puddle. My big hope now is that this is a very young female and not one of the smaller, dwarf species. She is as cute as a button and came out to curl up on the front of the rocks when the lights went out but has not acknowledged me yet. I fed her a small live fiddler at the end of her acclimation (that she shooed away twice and then chose to eat it when it kept trying to commit harakiri by running into her) but she wanted nothing to do with the small piece of shrimp offered on a stick tonight. She did not leave her perch when I touched her arm with it though but just pushed it away each time I would touch a sucker. I will have to concoct some form of red light for the tank as she did not seemed bothered much by my red flash light (KaySoh does not like the flash light and definitely sees it).

Unfortunately, I was unforgivably disorganized this time around and failed to get many decent pictures or record initial data. I didn't even have viable test strips so I took a full 3 hours to add water every 5 minutes (Chinese firedrill using 2 timers set for 10 minutes, offset by 5 minutes :roll:). Roy's Octopus aspilosomatis (Norman 144) looks promising as I have seen stripes on the arms but only a couple of white spot on the mantle. I have not seen any of the green sheen that was common to Beldar and briareus so I am inclined to think Puddle and Beldar are not the same species. She does show that odd little pointy mushroom hat like the luteus (Norman 249) as well as the long skinny mantle look and definitely has the thicker, longer front arms common to many of the macropus complex.

She was not very active during acclimation but came to life when she was place in the tank. You will notice arms sticking out of the lid in one photo as she tried to figure out how to get to the rock. She never did realize the top was open but exited immediately once I removed the green lid.


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Elise thinks she looks like tomato sauce in the 3rd pic. She is very cute, I love the name Puddle! I can't wait to see more pics of her in the tank so you can get a better idea of which type of macropus you've got. Fingers crossed for a baby something BIG!
Try Octopus aspilosomatis. This species can get fairly large. I have one that I received last spring. The ML was about 3 cm. It is now 7-8 cm and the arms are about 30 cm and it is still growing. Strictly nocturnal. It is reported to prey on other octopuses. Norman reports it only from Australia, but it appears to have a broader distribution including at least Indonesia.

possible aspilosomatis ?

I remembered about your ID post awhile back and included that one in my list of possibilities (buried in my initial ramble). One physial difference between Puddles and Beldar (the octo I compared to your ID post) is the lack of fluorescent green dots. Beldar (and at least one other posted) had definite reflective dots like the briareus trademark. The other possible difference I am seeing (after a single day) is that Puddles keeps her arms wound up in a lump when not out exploring (like in the last photo above - hence the name). I have only had her a day so it may be tank acclimation rather than an attribute but I have not seen any other of my (albeit limited) octopuses posture this way.

Similar or different from your guy?
Puddles is turning out to be quite a little charmer. Unfortunately, it is at 3:00 AM. She really is little, her mantle is about the size of a medium mercatoris (mantle only about the size of my thumb to the first joint) when she does not have it stretched out like a pencil). Her front arms are probably 7-8 inches long but not as thick as my finger and the back arms are only about 4 inches and very, very skinny. I am still finding her in her puddle pose when she is not out walking around. I don't think this is a sign of stress or ailing but it is different than I have seen with my other species and she give the impression of being a very delicate creature. I am holding my breath about her age as she is not very timid but not at all aggressive. Since I have only had a few species, my observations are limited but IME, young octos are very recluse and timid for quite awhile, even the ones that have been tank raised. I so wish I could photograph some of her posturing though but any kind of white light sends her into the LR.

She is doing well with the red LED flashlight (she detects the light and does not open her eyes fully but it does not seem to bother her) and came out to have a look at tonight when I turned it on then came to my side of the tank wall. She came up for a little touching last night but not so far tonight and she had no interest in eating the offered shrimp (but she may have found the crab I put in earlier). She is quite the little clown and changes her shape when following my fingers or crusing the sand in the very front of the tank (almost hugging the wall as she gets very flat and pencil like and then glides the length of the tank out away from the LR). Her shape changing is very much like Beldar and the "Keep on Truckin' look is frequent. I still have not seen the green fluorescent dots that Beldar sported and are similar to the briareus but I feel sure she is a related to Bell if not the same. After we are better acquainted I will take a flash picture because the green fluorescence seems to show in all of Bel's photos so if it is there a flash should expose what I can't determine in the dark. Going back and looking at Bel's pictures, I have a hard time saying that they are not the same species.

Edit: I went over to her again tank shortly after posting and she was ready to play. She is already swimming between my fingers and will stop and leave her arms on my hand. She is so slight and delicate that I really have had no sensation that she is interested in biting. The water changed direction once while she was near the top of the tank and that frightened her a little. No ink but she did swim to the LR and was slow to come back to the wall but she played with me for a good hour before heading toward a cave. I think our "go away" signal is going to be putting her arms into the LR but not necessarily disappearing. I left her for a bit and she was back out on the glass but this time did not want my attention. I have always thought that Beldar was somewhat smarter than my other octos and I have the same inclination about this one. Just with we could interact at 11:00 PM and not from 4:00 - 6:00 AM.
I decided to try to get a couple of photos of Puddles tonight, especially since she was sitting in the pose that gave her her name but she reacted to the green focus light on my camera and jetted to the top of the tank to take the typical dwarf "boxer" pose. Of the 7 shots I attempted with a flash only the first was in focus and she had uncurled one of the front legs by the time I took the pictures. I am accustomed to seeing the mercs take this pose and mentioned seeing it in Maya's thread but it is very funny to see an octo with arms 3 times longer roll them up into a fist and be ready to fight :smile:

One thing I did see in the out of focus pictures was the fluorescent green dots that I thought were missing. The puddle posture (arms all curled around her) that she takes on when not moving about is still very different from anything I saw with Beldar but that is the only remaining observation that might indicate different species. The absence of mantle markings and general look in this photo makes Roy's suggestion to look at aspilosomatis (Norman 244) a continuing possible match.


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Odd you should say that as I was thinking something similar an hour or so ago when several of the serpents noticed I was playing with Puddles and came out to investigate. Initially Puddles came out when she saw my light but did not want to play or eat so I gave a little piece of the shrimp to a small serpent I have moved to her tank (it was either born or came as a tiny hitch hicker in sponge and was getting its arms eaten by the hermits so I have moved it to this tank to grow out more safely). I noticed all the serpents in the tank were moving around and Peskey Two even played a little with my fingers (looking for food but was quite unafraid, different from other times). When she saw me giving attention (she did not want food) to the serpents she decided she wanted to play and hurried over to the glass. When she finally decided we had played long enough I noticed Sleazy was out at the front of her barnacle so I sat and "petted" her glass for a few minutes. She noticed my fingers but neither came out to investigate nor retreated into her den. Neither of the briareus were out though.

Even the dogs had to get into the act and wanted to go out even though it was well past their bedtime. :biggrin2:
Puddles spends most of her "outside" time sleeping on the glass curled up in her "puddle" position. She retreats to the LR at the first sign on dawn but is out most of the night. Some nights she will decide to wake up and play, others she does not want anything to do with me and will eventually saunter into the LR (to return to the glass when I leave) if I pester her. When she decides to play, she likes to slip between my fingers just like Bel. I think slight moving pressure on the skin must feel good or scratch what itches as she does this very slowly and will linger with the ends of her arms still between my fingers. She has no obvious fear of me at all now but is much less interactive than Beldar. I don't know if this is age (and if she is older or younger than Bel when she first came) or individual personality. She seems to be interest in eating every other day so that has become our feeding routine. I don't think she has grown any since entering the tank but since she is so often in her puddle posture, it is hard to tell.
Puddles really worried me last night because the three times I checked on her she was not anywhere to be found. I was afraid this either meant she was brooding or dead since she is always out on the glass until dawn. I am still not sure why she broke her routine but tonight she was puddled up on the glass and easily coaxed to take a crab. I am still concerned with her seeming lack of activity. This has been her behavior from the beginning but it is abnormal from any other octopus I have kept. My female mercs rarely leave the dens they choose so they are not as active as the males but leavnig the den to be inactive elsewhere is very odd.
The night before last, Puddles curled up into my hand and just sat there (being a puddle). Since I am relatively certain she is female (but don't know the species so this one may not protect its arm the way most do) I don't think she is in senescence but she is extremely gentle and extremely lazy. She comes out of hiding every night just to sit and sleep on the glass. Neal says he has seen her more active in the early AM as he goes to work. She definitely dozes and closes her eyes and I have to be careful to wake her up gently when I visit or she jets away (no ink). None of my octos have ever been this gentle and it worries me. She eats regularly (about 3/4 mantle length of shrimp or a fiddler every other night) and is obviously not brooding. Even when I hand her her shrimp, she is not grabby with my fingers and does not pull hard on anything (including dinner). She has not grown at all that I can tell so I think she is a dwarf species but her color is good and she changes shape from puddle to keep-on-truckin' octo or stream lined tiny GPO and shows her skunk stripe when annoyed so I don't think we are post brood either.

Puddles does seem to like to interact and has come out of the rockwork to greet me if she is not sleeping on the glass. As long as I am careful to wake her up, before I tickle her, she will play with me along the top of the glass (using the full length) for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes (usually the shorter time) about every other or every third day. When she no longer wants my attention, she will go to the sand and slink into the LR, often using a very slow crawling movement with arms fully extended and deep brown/red. Which day she wants to play does not seem to be related to days she is fed (if she eats, I let her fully finish and return an hour or so later) but may be related to time of morning. At the first signs of daylight, she goes somewhere into the LR and we have never been sure if she dens in the same place each night. It does appear that she buries under the LR but not in the open sand pile I made for her.
Attached is a photo of Maya (hummelincki). You will note the she continued the stripe down the arm as well (click on the photo for a larger image). Many of the octos (I have never seen it on briareus or mercatoris but have on hummelincki, macropus and aculeatus) will turn dark all over with a white stripe (or sometimes a darker brown stripe) down the middle of the mantle. We really have not determined what some of the common patterning means but it does seem to have to do with emotion. I see it on Puddles often when she is slinking away in her very funny crawl.

I really wish I could get photos of Puddles. Like Beldar she really exhibits interesting behavior but the slightest amount of white light (fortunately she tollerates the red flash light) and she goes back to the rocks. Most of what I wish I could show would need to be videoed and she would stop the behavior if I added any kind of lighting. The tank is glass so I don't know if I could even pull off a decent flash photo.


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