[Octopus]: Rupert - O. Vulgaris 2016

Mar 28, 2016
Flagstaff, Arizona
I just got a Vulgaris that is a few weeks old. He's tiny. How quickly will he begin to grow? If I posted pictures could someone identify his species and make sure it is correct? This is the second octopus that I've had and I loved the first so much!
Post away with the pictures. Octopus ID (especially from photographs) is a lot of luck and a few good looks at color, markings, eyes, suckers and mantle length vs arm length.

I will note that if you purchased this in California, it is unlikely to be a vulgaris. if it came from a wholesaler (indirectly through the pet shop) then one of the animals in the Abdopus complex is likely. However, with over 300 species, these thoughts are based upon what we commonly see, not on anything you have mentioned.
I will try to get better pictures and post them tonight. I did purchase it in Dublin, California.
The last octopus I had I was told was a Vulgaris but must have been a pygmy because it was tiny and never grew. It was still a great experience, I had it for quite a while and loved it. I just want to make sure I'm not making the same mistake with this one. If it isn't a vulgaris, like what happened last time, I don't need it to have it in my 100 gal tank to itself lol
This is him. The shop said he was a few weeks old. Is it a vulgaris? *fingers crossed*


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He is not one of the common Indonesian animals that we see. It is possible he is indeed O. vulgaris (not an uncommon species but not commonly available in the US for the aquarium trade). Here is LittleBit's journal with some pictures at about the same size. Note that O. vulgaris starts life as a pelagic animal (drifting in the plankton) and does not become benthic for at least a month so he would be a couple of months, not weeks old.
That's very interesting, I did not know that. Apparently the aquarium I bought him from did not either! I really hope that it is a Vulgaris. Thank you for your input. I suppose the size he grows to will be the way to tell for sure. He's very outgoing. He trys to climb out of any container I put him in to feed. And comes out of the rocks in the tank--which my last one never did. I'm not sure if those outgoing characteristics align with any particular species? Hopefully the Vulgaris?
You mentioned you acquired Rupert though an aquarium. Did they raise him from an egg? If so, it would not be vulgaris. There is a dwarf octopus (Octopus digueti) found in southern California that you might want to research. Here is one of @Neogonodactylus photos. It is an active species but I know very little about it other than, from photos, it heavily favors the Caribbean O. mercatoris (Here is more information about raising them along with external articles). It is a large egg, benthic from hatchling animal that has been tank raised (unlike - for the most part - vulgaris). However, your photos don't suggest this species (keep in mind that octopuses can quite drastically change appearances so a continued collection of images with varying looks is often needed to provide a good ID guess. Many are very hard to ID when they are small.
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I called the aquarium and they did not raise him from an egg, but said they purchased him from another wholesaler in California.
The Octopus digueti species looks exactly like what I had with the last octopus that was supposed to be a vulgaris, but was a dwarf I think because it did not grow much. Danny, my old octo, is the one in my profile picture. Perhaps you could look at it and see if he was a Octopus digueti
This one has much longer arms than my last one and the pictures of the Octopus digueti.
He also is not eating the hermit crabs I'm putting in there, only shrimp.
My last octopus loved hermit crabs, is it strange that he's not eating them?
Also, is there any way I could determine gender? I want it to be male because I gave it a male name, but it would be nice to know the actual gender.
@Esther Kelley Did you journal Danny with us? Your avatar is too small to guess and I can't make it larger. I don't believe I would be able to tell a O. digueti from O. mercatoris but digueti is from Southern California and mercs are found in the Caribbean and South Atlantic so there is a good chance he was digueti.

It would be unusual to find O. vulgaris from a wholesaler in California. In general the animals they have available are found in Indonesia and typically the from the Philippines. however, if they are sourcing for an aquarium, they may offer them unusual catches to them before sending them out to retail stores. I expect this one to be very interesting and hope you will continue to journal and include photographs.

To determine sex on a live octopus you will want to observe the 3rd right arm (clockwise as you orient your eyes with the octopus'). If the arm is most often kept curled up, this is a strong sign this is a male. If not, then it will likely be female or an immature male. Here is a thread with hints and photos to help you better understand what to look for.

Others have reported success feeding hermits for some of the smaller animals but almost all of mine have ignored them. My vulgaris, however, would eat anything that moved.

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