[Octopus]: This is Omikron - Abdopus aculeatus

Did our octopus go nocturnal???

For almost a week, we rarely saw a glimpse of Omikron. Then she kind of disappeared three days or so, did not even show up for feeding. (ok, there might be still some small crabs and shrimp in the tank.) After recalling that we last saw her shortly before and after light changes, we shortened the daytime light period and added a dim red light for the night. And in the first night, there she was, moving around vividly in the tank, even doing some things we never saw before, like jetting through the "open water" spaces of the tank. She really did pretty well, although she looked small and a bit skinny (writing this, I realize it sounds a bit stupid, but that was the impression...)

Very strange, though, was that she did not want to interact with us in the tank - no touching; she let us touch her arms when hanging at the pane, but did not react - her suckers were not active at all. That was weird (and again worrisome in a way). So, at the moment, we can't really figure out what's going on.

Please note: she is NOT pale and NOT moving around in the tank aimlessly.
I'll suggest a number of anecdotal guesses.
  1. She is not aculeatus but a different Abdopus. We don't know how many actual species there are and we have see a number of what appear to be very young aculeatus turn out to be nocturnal dwarf adults.
  2. She may be about to brood, note number one. Note that she would normally be eating very, very well unless she has already done that. With O. briereus, the mantle gets very full but I have not observed other females enough to know if this is obvious in others. You would not see senescent ambling in prebrood females, only after the eggs would have hatched (whether they do or not) if at all.
  3. She may be fully acclimated. This takes at least a month and I try to warn new keepers to expect a personality change at that time. Often initial interaction is great but then acclimated interaction nonexistent. If 1 and 2 are false then you can continue to work with her and may see a return of the positive interaction.
:fingerscrossed: that #3 is the most likely answer but I suspect #1 but not necessarily #2.
Thanks for the manifold input. A couple of questions arises, though...

I felt quite confident with the species identification, as everything really did match, from the eyehorns to the tips of the arms... how are we supposed to bring people to Mars, if we cannot identify a single octopus?

Omikrons character has been somewhat erratic for the whole time; but now she's in the tank for almost three months. Wouldn't that be late for a fundamental change in behaviour? (And what's the point of having a nocturnal octopus if you have a day job?)

If she would be breeding, wouldn't she be expected to stay close to her den? Instead, I see as much movement through the tank as I did not observe before (well, maybe she was roaming the tank before and we just did not see).

Anyway, not much you can do, right? Keep the water parameters all right, try to feed her (without success), be patient ...
Being able to Identify ife on Mars (or elsewhere) IS a major question posed by many scientists. Identification is only the tip of the unknown ice burg with the Octopus classification. If you look at the species naming of most common animals you will see that it has changed multiple times, often falling in and out of the "vulgaris" species identification. Octopus used to be THE genus but relatively recently, we have added new genus names, Abdopus being one of them.

Yes, three months would be too long for an acclimation personality change. We do see stages of behaviors but diurnal to nocturnal would not be one of them. It is possible to train crepuscular animals to interact in the early evening (or predawn morning) with regular feeding and attention but truly nocturnal animals have been a big disappointment to many. Sadly, she may be about to lay eggs. Since she has been in the aquarium for 3 months, there is only a small chance the eggs would be fertile and, sadly, no chance that any will survive if she has already mated and retained the sperm. I do remember reading that there was one Abdopus species that laid large eggs but the majority have the small, pelagic hatchlings that we (the collective professional and hobbyist we) have not been successful at captive rearing.

Yes, each animal adventure is different and should be enjoyed for the experience. Some experiences are more interactive than others. Sometimes it is the species but the best times are because of the individual animal.
Sad news - Omikron passed away on saturday. We kept her for three months, which feels like really short, but seems to match the average of the journals here. Last time we saw here was friday, when she looked listless and apathetic; the days before she was still active in the nighttime. She did not take food from us for about a week.

I like to think that she completed her life cycle by laying her eggs. Might that also be the reason for the phosphate problems we encountered?
Sorry for your loss - and thanks for sharing Omikron with us, what a great octo! For sure, laying eggs is the last part of the journey, for the vast majority of ceph species.
Sorry to learn about your loss. Omnikron was a fine octopus and you learned a lot about octopuses from her. I hope you plan to keep other octos in the future.

:cry: Abdopus eggs seem to take 10-14 days to hatch. She may have laid them (even if infertile) about the time she stopped coming out. I am not aware of any known elevated chemical levels associated with laying or even decaying of eggs as they are quite small.

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