One blue- ringed octopus: enough venom to kill 26 adults

Image of a Greater blue-ringed octopus. Hapalo...

If you’re a diver, you have probably wished to see this amazing blue- ringed octopus.

If you have seen it, you’ve probably had the same reaction:” It’s so small?!” :)

Yes, the average size of a blue- ringed octopus is 12-20cm and the mantle is about 5cm. Nevertheless, he’s known to be one of the oceans most venomous creatures. One blue- ringed octopus, holds enough venom to kill 26 adult human beings.

Like every octopus, the blue- ringed octopus is a king at camouflage, he is grey or beige with light brown patches, only when he’s agitated will he reveal his bright yellowish color, patched with about 50-60 black and blue rings.

He eats small crabs and shrimp. Also small fish, if he can catch them. The blue- ringed octopus generally lives a solitary life and inhabits shallow sandy areas or tidal pools; pools of water remaining after the tide has retreated. He can be found in Australia and the western Indo-Pacific.

The male mates with a female by grabbing her mantle and repeatedly inserting his sperm packets. Towards the end of autumn, for the first and last time, females lay at least 50 eggs. Eggs are laid and incubated under the female’s arm, for about 6 moths. The female does not eat during this process. Which results in the female’s death, after the eggs hatch.

The blue- ringed octopus, if hungry, ceases his prey with his tentacles and bites it to inject his venom. On the other hand if he’s well fed, he releases some saliva in the water and waits that his prey is immobile before moving in. Ones frozen, the blue- ringed octopus chops up its victims with its powerful beak, and begins the feast. Even humans can get bitten by a blue- ringed octopus, his venom  will cause motor paralysis and respiratory arrest. Followed by cardiac arrest due to lack of oxygen. There is no known antidote.

So, how do we have to react to this? Seek medical assistance. Untill they arrive, provide oxygen to the patient. Give artificial respiration. Pressure the wound. The patients paralysis will unable him to speak, sometimes for several hours. It is therefore essential to continue rescue breathing until help arrives or until the victim is able to breathe on his own again. There bite are tiny and therefore several victims only realize they’ve been bitten when the paralysis occurs. Most victims that get through the first 24 hours, survive.

But fear not lovely readers, the blue- ringed octopus is not overly aggressive. They tend to avoid confrontation, by blending in to there surrounding. Humans have only been injured when a blue- ringed octopus is provoked or stepped on. A good buoyancy control and respect for the aquatic life will make you avoid touching any venomous creature underwater.

Forewarned is forearmed! That’s why I decided to add this category on getting to know the aquatic life. Beauty underwater is often synonym to danger. Furthermore, according to slk320 Youtube’s channel, there have only been 3 fatalities in the last century.

Watch this beautiful video of underwater videographer, Franck Lame.

Sources

Nature; http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/interactives-extras/animal-guides/animal-guide-blue-ringed-octopus/2177/, Article from Robert Moore: http://www.biology.iastate.edu/InternationalTrips/1Australia/04papers/MooreBlOcto.htmYoutube channel: Worlds deadliest animals, Australia.

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