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FAQs about Cephalopod Behavior

Related Articles: Cephalopods, Don't Buy an Octopus Before Reading This by James Fatherree, The Ballet of the Wonderpus by Richard Ross, Mollusks,

Related FAQs: Cephalopods 1, Cephalopods 2Cephalopod Identification, Cephalopod Compatibility, Cephalopod Selection, Cephalopod Feeding, Cephalopod Systems, Cephalopod Disease, Cephalopod Reproduction,

Though not eaten, an Octopod's presence can be deleterious to its tankmates... from touch/locomotion and copious wastes.

Re: Hi    7/3/13
Thank you. I have some questions about comparing the weight and size of colossal and giant squids. I will ask them tomorrow morning.
<Real good. BobF>
Re: Hi   7/4/13

Happy Independence Day I read your bio with my dad last night.
Last night I said I was going to ask you about the colossal and giant squid. On the Internet I read and saw some measurements of the colossal and giant squid.  One said that the giant squid was longer but the colossal squid was heavier. One measurement showed the colossal squid being as big a sperm whale and the giant squid being longer. I would like to know if the colossal squid is longer and heavier than the giant squid or just heavier.
My dad helped me link the websites I read.
<I see they list this animal at 14 meters max.>
<And their guesstimates based on beak sizes found in whale stomachs>
Your fellow fish lover,
Michael Murphy
<My guess is that these two are near the same size... Who knows; perhaps you'll discover yet a third.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi    7/5/13


New Octopus Video - just uploaded  10/9/09
Guys, gals,
Certainly a fun video.
Cheers, Neale
> Two-spot Octopus Hunts at Night in Catalina Tidepools
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T9cy5LPIPo
> > Feel free to link to this and share it.
> James B. Wood Ph.D.
> Director of Education
> Aquarium of the Pacific
> Long Beach, California

Octo-Vandalism-- 02/28/09 WWM: <Hello John> Hope this email finds you all in good health and happiness. I thought you guys might enjoy this story about the two-spotted octopus at Santa Monica Aquarium: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,501564,00.html <Ah, yes... even made our domestic rag here in San Diego> Thanks again for all the information you provide to us. Please send my regards to Mr. Fenner. John. <And you my friend. BobF>

Wanted to Share This Video With the Crew... Invisible Octopus  7/20/07 Bob & Co, <Mich here today.> No stupid questions today. <Hee!> Just wanted to share this amazing Octopus video with you guys! http://youtube.com/watch?v=OQWxIrSRDQQ <Wow! Amazing! Thanks for sharing! Mich> Cheers Gans

The Nature of the Beast... Carib. Octopus... beh., comp./removal   1/27/07 Bob, <Scott> About 4 months back a small Caribbean octopus made it's way into my clients 1300g reef tank. <"Made it's way...?"> I was unable to extract it, <Nearly impossible...> and assumed (/hoped) it dead due to unsuccessful Octo hunting adventures, and a lack of missing livestock.  There was an unfortunate heat spike soon after he was introduced, in which a good chunk of the more sensitive corals died, so it made sense that he may have made his final bidding as well. Until just recently the has been very lightly stocked.  Lots of cleanup crew and maybe 25 fish or so, only one over 3", which was a big 10" Naso Tang.  Since that time we have lost only two fish - a 3" fairy wrasse and the big Naso which came as a huge surprise.  One day he was fat, healthy, and eating perfectly and the next day (maybe two, I'm only in every few days) he was a pile of bones plastered to the overflow. <Oh oh...> There are also about 4 Pacific Skunk Cleaner Shrimp missing, and I've never seen any of 8 small Mithrax crabs I put in there.   <I don't need to see another Powell/Loy film to see what's coming> There were 18 peppermints originally as well, many of which are to date clearly seen, but never countable. Just within the past few weeks we have started heavily stocking the tank, and given certain circumstances that have come with that stocking my suspicions to believe the Octo may still be on the prowl have risen. <If it's there, of a certainty> So what I'm curious about is whether your garden variety Caribbean octopus is strictly a shoot to kill type predator, or willing to damage fish and potentially give up and move on. <I think pretty much the former... sizes up prey and only attacks if likely to win> And if they did do such a thing, what would those marks look like?   <Bites and scrapes... empty skeletons...> What sized prey is an Octo generally willing to predate upon...would they go for a fish that was say 2, 3, 4 or potentially even 10 times it's own size? <Smaller is likely preferable... From what I've read and observed in the wild, Octopus species would rather eat a few to several less-likely-to-damage-them prey than tussle with something too big... And as the common notion goes... they are "smart"... do understand the size, shape of the world/system they're in, what is in their with them...> And finally, in 4 months could a small Caribbean octopus survive off of 8 Mithrax, a 3" fairy wrasse, 4 Skunk Cleaners, perhaps 5-10 Peppermints, and a hearty chunk of a Naso Tang. <Yes, I think so> Moreover, even if he could survive on that much... would he not have eaten much more with a smorgasbord of fish and crustaceans right at his tentacles? <Mmm, no... not necessarily. Have witnessed a wide mix of selective predatory behaviors with individuals of this genus, species... not at all predictable in my estimation> I apologize if the whole query seems simple, because I feel like I'm asking stupid questions with obvious answers and I know your time is valuable.  I appreciate your input. Scott <I do wish I had a sure-fire suggestion for removing this animal... I would try baiting a "snap-lid type trap" (e.g. the all-plastic rodent ones sold for marine use...) baited with a small local/Caribbean live crab (almost irresistible to these)... to remove it, stat.! Bob Fenner> Nautilus and the Moon  9/21/05 Hello Bob, <Doug> Would you please take a moment to answer the following? <Sure> On your snail site, a Sean MacKirdy mentioned that he installed a "moon simulator" on his snail tank. He felt that the spawning of a hundred plus creatures was the result of "the full moon" simulation. <Lighting, changes are amongst the more powerful "triggers"...> Please let me know, very briefly, how a "moon simulator" works. <Mmm, an alternating light source, more bluish... lower intensity... some folks even arrange for this to wax/wane with time at night...> More importantly, are you familiar with the theory that the Nautilus Mollusk creates one spiral chamber per day and after 30 days-- following the moon's cycle-- abandons the shell and begins to build a new one? <Mmm, no... what does it do in the "meantime?" when it has no exoskeleton?> I greatly appreciate any word you can send. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

- Fabulous (bipedal) Octopus Behavior - Hi Bob, Crew etc, I wanted to thank you for maintaining this terrific web site and extremely useful resource. Please keep up the good work! I also wanted to point you and other WetWeb addicts to a fascinating article published last week in Science magazine describing bipedal locomotion in two species of octopus (Octopus marginatus and Octopus aculeatus). These particular species were observed "walking" using two of their arms and using the remaining 6 arms for camouflage. Readers will need a subscription to read the article (or a trip to the local library), but the movies, which are absolutely out of this world, are publicly available from the magazine's home page http://www.sciencemag.org/.  I hope you can post the information regarding this fascinating animal. Cheers, Michael <Thanks for sharing - will be posted along with all out other dailies. Cheers, J -- > 

Octopus article! An article? <Yes my friend. You're capable... it pays> sure It has been sometime since I sent you the that e-mail. He seems to be doing fine! I'm very glad that I bought him! Very interesting to watch! There seems to be so much personality in them. <There is> He knows the difference between when I walk in the room and when someone else does. He'll hide immediately if it is someone new him! He gets a lot of Athenian from family and friends whom never seen a real Octopus. My girlfriend and I have named him Arnold after the large Book "Arnold Schwarzenegger"s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding that sits on top of the lid to keep Arnold the Octopus from escaping. <A worthy choice.> Thanks for Reply I'll update new pics now and then for he has filled out a little bit. <Start gathering materials, recording your observations, thoughts in a journal of some sort... have an idea of layout? Bob Fenner>

Re: Octopus What is the name of the skin cell which allows octopus and their relatives to change skin colour (camouflage) so quickly? <Likely you're referring to chromatophores. Bob Fenner>

Are we as smart as an octopus? Dear fellow Wetheads: CNN.COM uncorks a salty news-item from Reuters.... ----- "Octopus gets in a twist over shrimp" (Feb. 24, 2003) An excerpt: "An octopus in a German zoo has learned to open jars of shrimp by watching zoo attendants perform the act underwater. Frida, a five-month-old female octopus [from Morocco], opens the jars by pressing her body on the lid and grasping the sides with the suckers on her eight tentacles. With a succession of body twists she unscrews the lid." ----- I'm not sure what the big deal is here. After a few tries, I learned how to unscrew shrimp jars like that too, and I even have a few suckers left over to hold the cocktail sauce....  8-)=~~~ Bruce Mewhinney <My hands get a bit slippery on the beer nuts bag (sometimes have to put down the brewski to actuate), but we've got color vision with focus capability too! Bob Fenner>

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