Thursday, April 25, 2013

I just had one of those rare "I'm an IDIOT!" moments that actually resulted in good news! Not to say that it is rare that I am an idiot, but rather that it would be a good thing.  I went to collect eggs from a female yesterday and discovered that they had all hatched! I was left with sad strings of empty, lifeless, withered egg sacs (except of course for the infrequent spattering of a mutant octopus babies that had developed incorrectly and never made it out of the egg).  I did what I could, collected the strands and tried to collect as many free swimming paralarvae possible.  The free swimming paralarvae are TINY and I have to put the water though a sieve and painstakingly remove each one with tweezers.  And if that weren't enough, I always end up with weird contaminants from the water in my test tube and that's no good for genetics.  But, on to the good news!  Tonight while I was trudging through data entry, I had a lightbulb moment where I suddenly though, "Wait, was that the wrong female!? The female whose beautiful voluptuous eggs I collected a few days ago?" I quickly put on my boots (without socks which apparently makes them nearly impossible to take off) and ran though the rain down to the tanks.  I took out the other female's tank (both are pink, which may have caused the confusion) and there they were--perfect, bulging, swollen pearls of octopus babies ripe for the picking. I thought, "Yay! I am an idiot!" and quickly got to work harvesting babies for my genetics experiments.

On another note, the Pelagic Lab caught a deep sea octopus the other day! It was alive when they brought it back and so they let me keep it with my others to see if it would survive and also to figure out what species it was.  Sadly, she only lasted three days as it refused to eat anything I put in there. Not live crabs I caught with my own bare hands, not succulent raw shrimp, nothing.  However, I did get some great pictures.  I am pretty sure it is Graneledone pacifica.  What do you think?  It's definitely less red, but has the same bumpy mantle, no ink sac, and a gigantic head. It lost color as the days went by, so it may have become more orange even as it was coming up from the depths.  It came up on their anchor from about 700ft down! But it also kind of looks like Bathypolypus arcticus  but those guys usually live in the Atlantic ocean...

Here's the Graneledone pacifica

Here is Bathypolypus arcticus

And here's the little girl the Pelagic Lab found (they took to calling her Octopus Prime)

Of course, I got a genetics sample so maybe we can see if it's really what I think it is or something new!