[Octopus]: Shelby - O. Hummelincki


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Sep 4, 2006
Cape Coral, FL
June 10 - Jan 20 (7 Months)

I missed out the last time KPAquatics had a hummelincki because of an unreceived email, THIS time I got the notice :biggrin2:

He was quite active during acclimation and escaped into the sink when I initially opened the jar (Philipp later told me that he was quite a challenge to get INTO the jar on the boat). If I had to leave the sink for any reason, I had to clamp the plastic bag shut. Once he settled down and accepted a cracked blue crab claw arm, he was better behaved.

He did not stay hidden for more than a few minutes once placed in the tank and explored his new home until lights out. He seemed particularly puzzled by the glass side of the tank and experimented going up and down the side and then tentatively reaching for the live rock (video to follow). I have noticed odd wall walking with this species in the past and they often appear to have to acclimate to the way their suckers interact with the glass, resulting in a jerky motion as if some of the suckers don't release timely. This fella was not so much walking with hesitation as appearing to trying to figure it out. Much of the time he would walk upside down (the eyes NOT being aligned with the horizon). His experiment with how to get to the live rock was somewhat comical.

If I approached the tank and rubbed my finger on the glass, he would venture toward me, sometimes coming fully to the front. He was not interested in raw shrimp shish kabob but did inspect the shrimp on a stick I touched to his sucker. Hopefully he will eat shrimp later but there are a couple of small live crabs in the tank and I have more blue crab frozen.

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O. hummelincki is a definite favorite and comparable to a warm water bimac in many aspects. It is shorter lived (as are all the warm water octopuses we keep) and small egged (so unfortunate). Unlike the bimacs does not seem to have a warm water large egg counterpart (unless there is a relationship with O. Maya - in which case the large egg counter part is too large for most home aquariums). One of the biggest drawbacks is the anecdotal observation that captured females tend to lay eggs about two weeks after they are introduced to the tank. The likely explanation would be that they are out foraging and easier to catch at this time and not anything to do with being placed in a tank. Happily, my unnamed friend is male :biggrin2: but age is not something we can even begin to guess as the size range is huge. He is very active, nonaggressive and colors well so I am hoping I have the better part of a year with him.

Edit: I just watched the full episode of Tanked showing Tracy Morgan's GPO tank (TONMO news feed had it listed today). I had seen clips but not full episode before. I went down stairs during one of the commercials and saw unnamed and had to laugh at how tiny he is.
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He spent much of the day on the wall but is warming up to the mushrooms and may have found a den under their rock (not a ver comfortable one :roll:)

I offered a shrimp tail (with shell) on a stick tonight and he seemed to find it quite acceptable but "ate" it in private so I will need to be sure it was consumed.

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Finally published his first day video. Instead of my normal release video (which was a photographic failure because the lights had not yet cycled to daylight) I posted one of several I took slightly later in the morning (apologies for the reflections - the apparent green algae is actually reflection of the trees from nearby windows). Here is the YouTube text:

After having kept several of this species, anecdotal observation suggests there is something a bit different about how their suckers attach and detach on glass surfaces. In the past it has manifested as a herky-jerky motion but with this newly introduced animal, it seems that he is intentionally trying to figure out the mechanics. I took a series of videos the day he was introduced and by evening his wall walking looked more fluid, his exit to the rocks lacked the odd hesitation and he stopped hanging monkey like while "pacing". Encouraging to his acclimation, on night two he is sleeping in a den and not on the wall.

I actually took a series of videos (this is the first) and it was interesting to review them and see the clear progress he made in his ability to navigate the foreign substrate (and the need to understand 90 degree bends. I plan to review the later videos and will post another to show the changes in his motion.

Here is a video taken 5 hours later. The movement along the glass is still not smooth but notice the difference in speed, body orientation and confidence, especially when he leaves the glass to go to the rock area.

He spent day 2 sleeping. Unlike day 1 where he was constantly active slept on the tank wall, last night (and tonight) he slept in the LR. Pesky (the orange brittle that has lived with so many of my octos) moved in below his new den. The space he has chosen cannot be blocked off well but he did locate a rather large piece of coral to set up a door. His chosen door has not worked out well and I expect him to move when he is more comfortable in his new home.

@anothersquid has suggested the name Frederick Xavier, to be called FX as in special FX. I rather like the FX name (but not Fred since that is the name of the crab in his sump) but have not committed to it yet :biggrin2:
He is taking food from a feeding stick and putting it under his webbing but not eating much of it (tried shelled crab tonight - he ate more of the shrimp last night than the crab). However, the tank was loaded with amphipods and we only saw one on the back wall (normally covered in them) tonight.
He took a small half cracked blue crab claw from my fingers tonight and demolished it but did not want the arm later. I also found the emptied carcass of one of the two small crabs that were in his tank (spotted the other still alive today). There is also a live clam sitting in the open that does not seem to interest him.

So far his routine seems to be fully diurnal. He wakes up about the time the lights go fully on around noon and retires about half an hour before they start shutting down (10:30 pm). Like the other hummelinckies I have kept, once he is in bed, he stays there until morning. The daytime activity is a pleasant routine for seeing and sitting with him but photo opportunities are not great because of the reflections from the windows in the room. I am attempting to get him to come to a position that is more easily photographed but, for now, he only wants to visit in the left front corner. The tank shot is for perspective - nothing interesting actually going on.

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He picked a peculiar den, directly under the large rock that sits beneath the orange mushroom rock. It seems that he wanted a bit more room (there is not really a good hollow spot there) and started pushing on the rock causing a bit of an earthquake appearance. It is pretty hard to squash an octopus but I decided to use another piece of live rock to raise the large one a bit to avoid possible injury to the tank or the octo each time he went to bed. I waited until he was on the opposite side and proceeded with a bit of rearrangement under his keen eye. Once I finished, he inspected my work and, fortunately seemed to find it acceptable.

Note the interesting dot pattern at 1:02. None of those 4 dark circle are his eyespots.

Since this little guy has been day active and seems to be interested in the world outside his tank, I have started interaction introduction much earlier than with most animals. He stayed out with me for a couple of hours yesterday. He never quite came over to my hand but the few times he went over to the live rock he came back to the front within a few seconds.

After well over an hour of mutual entertainment, I tried moving my hand very close. He did reach out, touch and try to take my finger back to his den (without inking). Today I only attempted contact from outside the tank (I really did not expect him out today because of the extended interaction time yesterday but he spent the day awake). I will probably wait a couple of more days before trying intank contact but am hand feeding him (without a stick) successfully.

This AM I checked in on him before the lights came on and he was not in his den - not a good sign. I hunted throughout the tank with a red flashlight (panicked enough after Margay to check the sump, overflow, filter sock and floor even though the weights were in place on the top). No sign of him until I stepped back and looked at the tank to see him "laughing" at me from in front of the mushrooms - completely out in the open. If he had been there the whole time, he changed his color so I could see him (something I have seen others do). I did not see movement as if he climbed up there during my search :roll:

Tonight, he took but did not eat the offered shrimp so his self determined feeding schedule appears to be every other day - subject to change and I will continue to offer daily for the rest of the week to see if this continues.

Since he came to the front glass tonight, I decided to continue working in interaction. He allowed my to stroke the front of his webbing without panic, heavy breathing, inking or squirting me but took on the, "I am a rock" patterning (grayish white with no distinct - including the eyes - features). When I removed my hand he very slowly, retaining the rock appearance slid back to his den. I waited a bit to see if he would return for more and grabbed the camera. The video is the beginning of his approach after the first petting. The next hour was filled with a lot of back and forth, up and down approaches but never quite coming into contact with my hand but he reverted to his more normal appearance, losing the whitish coloring and had more pronounced features. Eventually he retired to his den for the night.


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