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[Octopus]: Varys, our brooding O. mercatoris

Joined
Jan 18, 2008
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569
Interesting observation tonight. We tried a new offering- a small ~5mm chunk of clam. Varys ignored it on the pipette, and so we deposited it at the entrance to her den. She continued to ignore the clam offering, and we were thinking about removing it... especially when we saw that it had attracted the attention of a decent-sized bristleworm, which started down after it.

As soon as the bristleworm got close, within 1-2 mm distance from "her" chunk of clam, that arm came whipping out and she snatched the clam. Then she seemed to like it... waved around for another piece. After the bristleworm was out of sight, we deposited another bit of clam for Varys, but the bristleworm was apparently poised and ready to go because it immediately appeared again and honed in on the clam and started to abscond with it. Varys shot out an arm and got herself "stung" trying to take her clam back! The bristleworm won that round and Varys was left literally "shaking it off" with little flicks and wiggles on the end of the arm that touched the bristleworm.

We were worried about our girl, since they have such sensitive skin, but she seems to be ok. Since then, she's accepted 4 more tasty chunks of clam, which is more than she's ever eaten since holing up with her eggs! =)
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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Somewhere in one of my posts (Miss Broody, I think) I also saw a similar, "Thats MINE" reaction with both a bristleworm and a serpent star (I think the serpent incident was with Trapper) so your posted observation helps to confirm some of my own notes on behavior.

I have tons of bristles in the larger tank (not as bad in the smaller one) and plan to try my gravel vacuum soon to reduce the number but a lot of them live in the LR in addition to the sand where the vacuum won't do much good. They don't seem to be a problem for the octos though and help keep the excess feeding (especially with the babies) from polluting the tank. If Miss Broody has, indeed expired, they will help there as well but I have not seen a group of them clustering anywhere. Not a fitting end but nature helping out in my mini piece of the ocean.
 

SandV

Wonderpus
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Oct 16, 2007
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Rigby does it too... he lets the bristles slowly come out and when he thinks they have gotten close enough he swats at them and they retract to start the journy again and he will wait until they get close and do it again...
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
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We had a glimpse of Varys' eggs with the red penlight tonight and didn't see embryos, but maybe that's not sufficient illumination. On the bright side, no sign of fouling or decay, either. Hope springs eternal =)

Ate 2 ghost shrimp (freshly killed), 3-4 frozen mysids, and some pieces of silverside tonight. We're having a pretty good time with feeding this girl. She makes us laugh. She's quirky.

She takes her time, but hustles to beat the bristleworm if need be.

If she really doesn't want it, she blows it away, otherwise it's just a matter of time. We've made the mistake of trying to remove a piece of food we thought she wasn't interested in with the pipette, and she will snatch it away from the pipette as fast as she can.

If we get involved doing something else and don't put the next food item in in a timely manner, she waves at us.

Oh, and you DON'T put any offerings near tiny den entrance number one. Only near tiny den entrance number two. She will routinely blow the food back from entrance one, but will accept it immediately moments later from entrance two. (These entrances are approximately 3 cm apart). No idea why this is the law, but apparently it is. =)
 

DWhatley

Kraken
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I can't help with what to expect with the eggs as I have yet to see even a glimpse of one :hmm:.

Varys is certainly eating very well. Trapper would take one crab or one shrimp a night (I did not know to try the Cyclop-eeze until feeding the fry). I wonder if she would have taken more if I tried again later but then she did not eat as early as my captive raised. My four males will only take one shrimp OR an occassional live crab (they are eating more crabs now than ever before, however) so I extremely impressed with both the quantity and variety you are able to feed.

One thing I did get Trapper to do (but not Miss Broody) was to extend an arm and touch my finger on the glass (my finger was on the outside). She would only do this once a night, usually in acknowledgement that I was there to feed, and would do it with me most nights once she started.
 

Mikewise

GPO
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Nov 27, 2006
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127
fantastic thread. it's exciting to follow the brooding process. congrats on the inhabited eggs, and excellent photos. keep them coming!
 

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