wunderpus/mimic info

Mar 19, 2005
i have been doing some reaserch on these animals in my spare time and have come across one of the most awful things i could read. these awsome/beautiful animals are being seen less and less i talked to a oceanographer a few days ago and he said they are seeing fewer and fewer each week and they dont know why. so i am going to just voice my opinion on the collection of these animals, i think we should do our best to discourage the trade/capture of these animals because not much is known about them i mean you have probably read that corals years ago could not be kept now they are rather easy to keep compared to some fish. so please people dont buy these animals til we know more about there husbandry as it somewhat disturbs me at what species of octopus i find on website for sale. i spoke to a store that sold the so called zebra octopus and sold it for a amzing price of 600$ i asked him if they were easy compared to bimacs and he said they are the most difficult marine animals he has ever seen i asked him why then does he import them and he said that he makes more money when he imports them and people buy them and they die and order another one.
i dont think it is right for an animal to suffer for the almighty dollar that is just cruel in my opinion so please if you really care discourage the importation of these animals.
now that you all think i am a enviromental extremeist i just want to say i am not but i really care alot about these animals and dont want to see them go extinct beacause of something cruel and not right and because of some pretty inconsiderate actions we do. now that that is out of the way i hope we can learn alot from these animals.
Hear, hear! If I want to see these animals I'll either pop in my videotape of them or fly to Indonesia to try to find them.
Agree completely...whenever I see them offered for sale on a list, I call up the place and give them some facts...if no one buys them, they will stop collecting them.

I'm interested in their potential venom. Has anyone progressed further in researching this?

None of the venom researchers I know of are working with them...probably due to the rareness of the animal ( I know with rattlesnakes, they need samples from a diverse selection of animals...lots of milking out in the field !).
Maybe someone in Australia is working with them?
Wonderpus collection?

Interesting problem. You are interested in the venom, but how are you going to study it without animals in hand. It certainly is not going to be easy in Lembeh. Getting a permit to take the animals for research will be very difficult and freezing the samples and getting them to a lab will be tricky (the last tissues I carried in liquid nitrogen to the US from Indonesia nearly got me thrown in jail in Korea). This means that the only animals likely to be available will come through the aquarium trade and the collector/importer certainly will not distinguish between animals taken for the trade or animals obtained for research. And at $600 a pop, sample sizes at least on my grants would be pretty small.

For the record, we do have a few samples of wonderpus venom and one of my graduate students will be taking a look at them later this spring.
You still have to wonder if the "science" is worth the dead animals at the end of things...I have found the office sciences to rather unreliable in many areas, and every time I see another pickled collection of a wiped out species, I cringe.
I don't think captive maintenance is validated by study at this time, until we have better facts regarding the actual population in the wild.
Hmmm... my primary interest would be in a fictional context, actually, and that doesn't sound quite dramatic enough for those purposes.
my friend has seen them kill/eat some amazing animals anything smaller than them is fair game he even saw one (incredibly large on i might add) take down a small stingray he also said there might be a slight difference between the male and the females of this species. they are also looking for a few other members that are closely realated to the mimic and wunderpus.
Neogonodactylus said:
For the record, we do have a few samples of wonderpus venom and one of my graduate students will be taking a look at them later this spring.

Hi Roy. Are they to look at secondary radular structures also? It would be very interesting to look at the morphology of tooth-like structures in the salivary papilla (part of the buccal complex); I don't think the palatine teeth (more dietary related) are well-enough understood to correlate with venom, and intuitively I wouldn't expect their morphology to be related to toxicity. I would, however, expect some relationship between the toxicity of octopus venom and the morphology (if the tooth/teeth is/are present) of structures in the salivary papilla (with a comparison to the likes of, for example, Conus).

I recall reading, or perhaps concluding (most likely reading) that the teeth in the salivary papilla were most pronounced (or perhaps present only) in hole-drilling species. I could be completely wrong .....
Money is the root of all that sucks. If something is evil, there is money behind it. I say we all move to mountains and shed our 'money makes the world go 'round' mentallity....or at least try to be much more careful about what we are doing. Let's think about the beautiful, and docile thylacine. (do some research if you've got the time, they are amazing. try www.naturalworlds.org ) They were completely wiped off the face of the planet because they were misunderstood. People feared them, so the government paid very nice bounties on their hides. Thousands were wiped out in a few years because of, that's right, MONEY!! The same thing is going to happen to all of our beautiful marine animals if we are not careful. Do research on any species before you buy it, and if you can't find enough information, or information leading you to believe that it may be a BAD idea to keep them, then DON"T BUY IT!! You will just be fueling the fire! And to comment on the 'science' aspect of things. The only way an animal should be studied is in their natural habitat, with little or no disturbance from us. In the meantime, all of us reef/invert/ect. keepers need to learn as MUCH AS POSSIBLE about the information that is out there. We may be the last hope for a dying species in the near future. Anyway, I'm rambling. Lets take care of this planet. We don't inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children!
Although I agree we have a lot to learn about animals in their natural habitat- I feel a need to step in here in defense of "office" science. Many marine parks in the tropics find funding based on how biodiverse the area is...biodiversity measured as species richness- lists of named species. Octopus species 1, 2, 3 don't count. Funding agencies need proof that a given species exists before they try to save it, and that proof is a scientific name with museum specimens to back it up. NGO's have been trying to protect the Lembeh Strait (where Wunderpus was first discovered by divers) for years, but have run into problems because so many of the animals there are undescribed in science (over half of the octopuses). They are now close to making it a marine park to protect it from two major threats: poaching for the aquarium trade, and trawling.
This opens up a can of worms. Binomials, trinomials, putative species, species-specific enumerated unknowns, operational taxonomic units; evolutionary, recognition, genetic, biological, asexual ... species concepts.

I know where you are coming from, but for many invertebrate groups today there simply is not the systematic expertise or time available to attach an epithet to any given taxon (and often genus). Moreover, when undertaking said biodiversity surveys, often the responsibility of identification falls on people with systematic experience/expertise in one area, but not in others, and these gen. et sp. indet 1, 2, 3 etc (or whatever numbering system is employed) are the norm in biodiversity (physical and biological) inventories.

In New Zealand I was the poor person responsible (by and large) for attaching names to deep-sea invertebrates collected during exploratory biodiversity-inventory surveys on seamounts, hydrothermal vents, and general fisheries bycatch (Myopsida and a few other fisho experts would do the vertebrates [vertebrate filth we call it]). I am no expert in all things invertebrate, and by necessity had to resort to citing species-specific enumerated unknowns - the difference being that these unknowns were always backed up with voucher specimens in collections (enabling continuity between surveys, and between personnel). Hopefully within my lifetime someone will come along and express a willingness to revise the New Zealand Gorgonacea and Anomura (in particular, but not limited to these two groups by any stretch of the imagination).

We have to compromise when preparing faunal and habitat inventories, as that expertise to attach names to things is wanting in this day and age. This would make for a fantastic debate.

My attitude is, attach sp. 1, 2, 3 etc to things, compile the list, draw attention to the rich biodiversity in a region, and then set about naming things for the next 20 years, starting with the most charismatic or unique/rare fauna (that you can market to justify saving an area), rather than wait 20 years before all names are attached to things .... by which time the environment could be gone (it only takes a little dynamite, or a few bottom trawls ....).

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