[Octopus]: Puddles - Callistoctopus aspilosomatis ?

DWhatley

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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.
 

DWhatley

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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.
 

DWhatley

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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.
 

DWhatley

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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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DWhatley

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Puddles photos

I left the light on (accidentally) that is near Puddles tank tonight. It doesn't shine directly into the tank but does give enough light for me to see inside. I don't ever remember seeing Puddles out if this light is on but tonight she was either very hungry or decided it was time to come out anyway. Since she was tollerating some light I decided to try a few photos. Not great results but better than I have been able to get.

Puddles is the first octopus that I have regularly fed by hand. I have avoided hand feeding because I did not want my hand assoiciated with food but was never sure if feeding this way would actually result in the anticipated problem. It seems that it might as the last few times I have put my hand in the tank she approaches and grabs (grabbing for Puddles is not very insistent, she does not exert much suction or strength) my finger with multiple arms in the same way she takes a shrimp from my fingers. She even pulls on the finger a little but only slight resistence causes her to release it. Today was fast day but I thawed her a shrimp and she came up to get it without much hesitation. Prior to giving her the food, she would push my fingers away but once she had her piece of shrimp she allowed me to pet her mantle for a few seconds before slowly moving off to a corner to eat alone.
 

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DWhatley

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Interaction Photos

I left the light under the staircase on again tonight to see if Puddles would come out in spite of the light. She did and was willing to play a bit. She let me pet her between the eyes and reminded me of a cat (as did Beldar). Puddles closed her eyes and just sat still as long as I would pet her.

She came out later and was being her normal puddle on the wall so I put the camera around my neck (to prevent it falling into the tank), woke her up and tried using my left hand to hold the camera and fire while she slipped through my fingers. Try this mentally, keeping in mind that all cameras are designed to be held in the right hand. Add the fact that I could not see where I was aiming and you will excuse the picture quality. I think I will attach the tripod and remote firing chord tomorrow (why they left off the wireless remote on this camera I just don't understand, most of the lower end models have that ability). At least the photos give a size reference with my hand to show how tiny he has remained.
 

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