If you have never heard about a blue-ringed octopus before, you better read these facts. Provided facts will reflect light upon behaviors and physical traits of blue-ringed octopuses and may possibly save you from their poisonous bite. Did you know these beautiful looking creatures can cause one of the ugliest damages to humans? Yes, you heard me correctly! Blue-ringed octopuses are known to be one of the highly poisonous species of octopuses.
Now, let’s learn some other interesting facts about blue-ringed octopus so that you will be able to recognize them to avoid possible dangers.
- Blue-ringed octopus is recognized as one of the most venomous marine animals on this planet.
They are beautiful to look at but too poisonous to touch. Every single one of blue-ringed octopuses contains venom that is enough to kill more than 26 humans. They release neurotoxin which can paralyze and eventually kill the humans in about 6 minutes.
- Blue-ringed octopuses are renowned as one of the smartest creatures.
If they detect approaching predators, they can change their color and spray ink in order to blend in with their surroundings. In addition, their fast-boneless body helps them move quickly and escape through tiny holes and cracks easily.
- Once people get stung by blue-ringed octopus, their survival rate becomes limited.
Once a person gets bitten by blue-ringed octopus, race against time begins. Their venomous neurotoxins spread to the human body in a matter of minutes.
If a person does not get medical help right away, his or her chances of survival drop significantly. However, there are stories which claim that some people escaped from death after they got bitten by a blue-ringed octopus.
For instance, a 28-year-old fisherman named Mitchell Ogg, a resident of Western Australia, got bitten by blue-ringed octopus and survived in 2018. He miraculously survived thanks to the navy paramedics who were available at the time at the nearby location. You may read his complete story here
- Despite being one of the deadliest octopus alive, blue-ringed octopus is not an aggressive creature.
Provocations and harassments, such as picking them up, stepping on it, or mishandling, can lead them to use their lethal bite. Their peaceful behavior probably explains why there are only 3 reported deaths: one in Singapore and two in Australia.
Australian Institute of Marine Science wrote: “The good news for swimmers in the waters where blue-ringed octopuses are found, is that they are retiring creatures and will only bite if they are being harassed and poked”.
- Blue-ringed octopus hides under the rocks or in crevices during the day and emerges at night.
They are nocturnal creatures, primarily active during night. They usually inhabit 164 feet (50 m) below the water. Some species can be found in shallow waters.
Like other species of octopuses, they can easily deform their body to fit in the crevices and get under rocks. Although it is not recommended to come close to them, those are the most probable locations where you can see one alive.
- There are more than 10 species of blue-ringed octopuses.
Most people think blue-ringed octopuses belong to a single species of octopuses. In fact, blue-ringed octopuses comprise the genus known as Hapalochlaena.
According to the National Geographic, there are more than 10 species of blue-ringed octopuses most of which inhabit in the waters between Japan and Australia.
- The blue-ringed octopus turns on its blue warning lights if they feel threatened.
Amazingly, these creatures do not want you to get hurt. When humans come close to their dwellings, their blue circles light up.
By doing so, they warn people that they approaching their location. It is recommended for people to avoid the area if they see glowing blue rings.
15 Interesting Facts about the Blue-Ringed Octopus: Part II
- Blue-ringed octopuses feed on crabs, shrimps, and injured fish.
Blue-ringed octopuses usually catch crabs and shrimps using their arms. Once the prey is caught, they paralyze them using their venom. Then, tore them apart using their beak. Sometimes they eat injured fish because those are easier for them to catch.
- There is no known antidote to the blue-ringed octopus venom.
However, this doesn’t mean that blue-ringed venom will kill every victim. Generally, once they inject venom, human muscles and lungs lose their capacity and become paralyzed.
In order to restore the person’s breathing ability and avoid possible cardiac arrest, medical specialists connect the victims to respirators until venom dissipates. It is recommended to start mouth to mouth breathing (rescue breathing) until medical help is available.
- Blue-ringed octopuses do not sting, they bite.
They store their lethal venom inside their mouth. Its venom is made up of neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. This neurotoxin is also found in the puffer fish and other deadly animals.
A blue-ringed octopus bite is painless. Therefore, people usually do not feel its effect until it is too late.
- Interestingly, blue-ringed octopuses do not produce the venom themselves.
Unlike many other venomous animals, they do not have ability to produce their own venom. Instead, they use the venom that is already made by bacteria which lives in their spit glands.
Bacteria and octopuses get mutual benefits from this relationship. Bacteria gets food and cozy place inside the octopus. As a return, the octopus gets venom to use for self-defense and hunting.
- Blue-ringed octopus lives only two years.
Generally speaking, their lifespan is not as abundant as their beauty. Their lifespan can be even shorter if the nutrition, temperature and light is not adequate to sustain their energy.
- Female blue-ringed octopuses die while taking care of their eggs.
Female blue-ringed octopuses perform heroic action during their reproductive season. They sacrifice their life in order to give a life to about 50-100 baby octopuses.
They incubate their eggs for 6 months without eating. As a result, they die from malnutrition as soon as their eggs hatch.
- Blue-ringed octopus measures only 5-8 inches (12-20 cm)
They are small in size compared to some other species of octopuses. Their outer appearance can be in various colors because they easily change their color and camouflage themselves to deter possible threats.
There are about 50-60 glowing iridescent rings on their body which make these species unique creatures.
- The life cycle of a blue-ringed octopus is tragic.
Blue-ringed octopus lives only two years. Males die shortly after mating. Females deprive themselves of nutrition while incubating and protecting their eggs. As a result, females die once their eggs hatch.
Generally speaking, blue-ringed octopuses do not experience parental care. A month after the eggs hatch, babies start to hunt crabs. And, once they turn 1-year old, they become ready for mating.