Wunderpus poll


Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Dec 31, 2003
Given all the wunderpus and mimics that have shown up for sale this year, and how many of us seem to agree that they shouldn't be sold, I'm curious how people go about discussing the issue with their suppliers. Who has called a supplier and asked them not to sell these animals? What has their reaction been?

Just curious...
I sent an email to Dr Foster and Smith, as did several people here. Either they sold the one(s) they had in stock, or they caved.

You back in town? :biggrin2:
I Think that the trade gets around all the eyebrow raising to begin with by calling them 'zebra octopus'. It seems to be that once they are in the UK or USA that someone starts calling them by their right names again.

The huge price hike also seems to happen once they get here as to import a Mimic direct would only cost me about $20 per unit, yet we see them here at normally a couple hundred $$$

The importers I have spoken to have had different results. One asked me for advice and since I spoke to them have stopped all importation of Blue Rings and Mimics/Wunderpus. Well done to Tom Halvorsen Ltd! website here

However, the UK's largest marine importer still brings them in and still misidentifies them.

The pet industry, in the UK at least, is going through a huge shakeup, it has many herp keepers and fish keepers really worried about what can and cannot get imported in the future. I have voiced my opinions to them regarding some cephalopods...

FOCAS petition

DEFRA on keeping CITES animals

Here is a recent one by the Scottish Executive regarding importing species which could harm the environment here weirdly enough snakeheads (Channa) are on this list??? Cant see them being able to live in a Scottish summer let alone a winter but never mind, point is that there are consultations and it is up to people like us to voice our concerns
I've yapped at every supplier out here, and on the west coast. Unfortunately, I am labeled as something of a "earth-first-er", and so I can never tell if they are actually going to stop selling these things or not, after all, I am the one that gave a lecture on bottom trawling in a trendy scottsdale seafood restaurant at full volume.
Lots of glares, but two people cancelled their orders for Orange Roughy.

I'm the one who voted no :shock:! This is because none of the pet shops/aquarium suppliers down here in Dunedin NZ sell ANY variety of cephalopod, never mind wunderpus or mimics..............if they did you can be sure that they'd hear from me!!!! As one did who were selling Pot Bellied Seahorses Hippocampus abdominalis in piddly wee tanks (~20L) :mad:

I have contacted several online sellers. Some are willing to listen; others (e.g. the guy selling the 'zebra-banded octopus' on Ebay recently) tout their 'extensive experience in the aquarium supply industry' and even if they 'have never seen an animal like this before,' they don't want to know about the potential risks and ecological damage of trading in them - only the $500 they think they can get for it. You'd think some information on a species that is new to them (not to mention to science!) would be of interest, but instead you get told in no uncertain terms where you can take your concerns... :mad:
personaly i have never seen anything more then a bimac at any of the stores that i know of, including online suppliers, with the acception of octopets as they have cuttles, and of corse our ebay bandit, but i would not be against an agricutlral permit being required for the sale/ purchase of these creatures
This is going to sound really ignorant or naiive, but what makes it a bad thing to sell them? Are they endangered? That I'd understand, but over here I've never once seen a shop that sells octopuses. I couldn't bring myself to have a pet octopus anyway, for 2 reasons: first is that they have such a short lifespan and knowing me I'd get too attached, and second is that I personall think it's a wee bitty cruel to enclose such an intellegent animal, unless it was a massive aquarium, but then that's just me. I was brought up in a household that always had Cichlids though. Please don't flame me, I'm just not knowledgeable about ceph-keeping, is all.

Graeme said:
I personall think it's a wee bitty cruel to enclose such an intellegent animal, unless it was a massive aquarium, but then that's just me.

Not just you - me too! The only pet I would ever have would be a truly domesticated one, like a cat or a dog. And even so I feel guilty for having an apartment-confined cat. I think it's okay to have octopuses and other critters in zoos because they're for educational purposes and for the greater good of their cousins in the wild, but I personally would never keep a wild animal. But maybe I'm wrong, and they prefer the cushy lifestyle and natural death to being chased by predators even though they're cooped up.
Graeme said:
This is going to sound really ignorant or naiive, but what makes it a bad thing to sell them? Are they endangered?

It's because they are so rare and plus they are endemic to Indonesia (I think...) which makes their populatin much more vulnerable.

I'm with you- but must admit it's handy to be in Neogonodactylus's lab. If we have to keep an animal to watch it for a little while then it'll be very well-taken care of. Maybe one day when I live somewhere for more than five months in a row I'll get a bowl of guppies.

Mimic and wunderpus probably have decent distributions, but they live in habitat that is heavily trawled in some places, and sometimes "reclaimed" to make land. Although we have not been able to conduct formal surveys yet, these octos are considered rare. When solitary animals are rare, and might not get many chances to mate in life, over-collection can be a big deal. Based on views of long-time divers in muck sites, paoching of rare animals for the aquarium trade (of mimics, wunderpus, frogfish, etc) has become a big, unchecked problem. Rich muck habitats don't have the charismatic draw that coral reefs have, so they get ignored by conservation groups that admittedly already have a lot on their plate as it is. Wunderpus and mimics have different ways of dispersing hatchlings, so wunderpus would probably have a harder time bouncing back after over-collection. Anyway- I'll keep ya posted as we learn more.
It seems that you can rationalize anything you want, to suit your purposes...hey, it works for the government, right?
They are unknown animals, for the most part, and studies in the wild are needed prior to keeping them in captivity.

... Although there was a drool-inducing poster at CIAC about their reproduction - Volker Miske and some others at an aquarium in Germany saw one for sale and realized they could give it as good a life as anyone else. It turned out to be a female that laid eggs - fertile eggs!! Paper to be published soon. Watch for fantastic photos! :cool2:
Mimic/wunderpuss.. What an AMAZING ANIMAL! It would be rather interesting to have one.. but I guess I have been living under a rock I did not know they were endangered. :frown:

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