[Octopus Eggs]: Trapper's Babies - Tank Raised Mercatoris

DWhatley

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I put two of my kids on the bus

Well, OK, maybe it is not their first day at school but I put them into their first tank. I have been delaying this but decided I really needed to move the more agressive one into a net by himself so my best buddy and his net mate went into the 15 gallon tonight. Film at 11:00 - well maybe more like 2:00 AM and on PhotoBucket since they are too long for direct posting.

Well, maybe tomorrow. It seems PhotoBucket is very slow to upload and convert tonight.
 

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Nancy

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Cute little guy!

Please be sure to send this to Tony (tonmo) so we can keep it in the gallery - I'd hate for this one to disappear!

Nancy
 

DWhatley

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Nancy,
Unfortunately the stills are not clear enough to keep for posterity and the videos are too long to download to the site. I am trying to get the best of the videos into photobucket now (I can do a direct FTP for pictures but the videos have to be loaded from their download program and converted - takes forever). The listed video is the second best and I have loaded a longer but not as clear one but the longest one really shows him/her touching and examining the LR for the first time and is actually fairly well focused.
 

DWhatley

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Video of First Day In Tank

I finally got the longer and best of the videos of this little guy's first curiosity about his new environment up to my photobucket site (too long for direct TONMO load).

http://s116.photobucket.com/albums/o6/dwhatley/Octopus/?action=view&current=FirstTank02.flv

There are actually two octopuses in this tank but the other one (always shy) has taken up a home in the LR and only shows its arms. Anyone know a good name for a creature that is ONLY arms? These little guys are over due for a name.
 

DWhatley

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Video of RattleSnake behavior

I noticed this strange behavior the other night and was able (sort of) to capture it on video. I now have good night viewing lighting over the 15 gallon tank but all my pictures will be monotone red and poorly focused.

If you look just to the right and below the eyes you will see a continuous movement. That is the tip of the arm being intentionally wiggled. Initially I thought it might be a lure to attract the shrimp but I get this response whenever I wiggle my finger at the glass (more finger movement bring increased activity and I was wiggling my finger while taping) and it seems to be more of a warning or threat than an enticement. It is definitely deliberate but Interpretation is not clear.

http://s116.photobucket.com/albums/o6/dwhatley/Octopus/?action=view&current=ArmWiggle01.flv
 

DWhatley

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More Behavior Observations

The pair in my 15 gallon are proving to be more interesting to observe than the three in the 45 snice I can only find the one in the 45 that has taken the mother's brooding den at the front of the tank.

I have modified the outdoor Flourex light (65 Watt, 6500K) by adding 3 layers of red transparent film and leave the light on 24/7. This gives very good viewing light but poor lighting for photography.

The "female" was finally viewable (I saw more than just arms) but only stayed out a short time after I sat down to observe the tank.

The "male" continued to exhibit interesting behavior. He was again out in the open but had his first arm over his eyes (typical Merc posture). Thinking he may be showing hunger, I offered a small live crab by hand. He disappeared into the LR and proceeded to systematically jet out the carcass of the last crab he had eaten. First the legs flew from the den then the empty body casing but he did not take the fresh crab. OK, maybe he wanted shrimp (there are several live shrimp in the tank) so I hand presented a shore shrimp. He touched and held the shrimp then pushed it back into my fingers when I released it. I continued to offer it and he insisted on pushing it back into my hand (he did not use his siphon and was definitely pushing it into my fingers, not just away from the den area). I then offered it to the extended arm of the "female" who took it immediately.

The male continues to twirl the ends of multiple arms when he sits in the open and he sees movement outside the tank.

http://s116.photobucket.com/albums/...action=view&current=ArmWiggleAndBobbing01.flv

In the ID request section, Christine Huffard (Mucktopus) provided a link to one of her published studies on A. Aculeatus:

http://mollus.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/eym015?ijkey=KKEaa79OOS387DW&keytype=ref

and mentions male guarding behavior when a male and female pair of octopuses live within touching distance. I am wonder if this is what I am seeing.

Addendum:
I noticed after posting that I can see a larger sucker near the base of the first arm. The photo is ugly but you can see the enlargement:

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o6/dwhatley/Octopus/MaleEnlargedSuckerCrop.jpg

I also shot another video of the arm movement where you can see the full mantle. I missed the interaction with the serpent. The octopus will rapidly swipe at shrimp to chase them away but gently pushes away the arms of the serpent star. If the serpent insists, the octopus continues to gently relocate the arm until the star accepts the new position. His lack of interest in eating today is a little frightening, surely we are not already approaching the end.

http://s116.photobucket.com/albums/o6/dwhatley/Octopus/?action=view&current=FullMonty.flv
 

Nancy

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Thanks for recording your observations, "D", and sharing them with us.

I wish we could figure out a way for you to get better stills, despite the red light. Does anyone have any ideas for this?

Nancy
 

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