The Blue-Ringed Octopus

The Blue Ringed Octopus


Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: MolluscaClass: CephalopodaOrder: OctopodaSuborder: IncirrinaFamily: Octopodidae, Octopodinae: HapalochlaenaSpecies: Hapalochlaena Lunulata

  • The Blue-Ringed Octopus is the most deadly Cephalopod— known to man. A Cephalapod is a class under the Molluscan phylum, which is any marine organism that has bilateral symmetry or a defined head and tentacle like arms. There are three known classifications of the Blue-Ringed Octopus:
Hapalochlaena lunulata

    • —Greater Blue-ringed Octopus —
      • Hapalochlaena lunulata
    • —Southern Blue-ringed Octopus
      • —Hapalochlaena Maculosa
    • —Blue-lined Octopus
      • Hapalochlaena fasciata

All three of these species are very similar, but they are differentiated by where they are found and size. The Blue-lined and Southern Blue-ringed Octopuses that are found only in Austrailian waters, the range of the Greater Blue-ringed Octopus spans the tropical western Pacific Ocean. Greater Blue-ringed Octopuses can weigh between 10 and 100 grams. Each of these cephalopods get their name from the blue rings found on their body.4
The Blue-Ringed Octopus lives in tide pools in the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Australia —Prefer Shallow Waters. They are very common in shallow waters around the coast of Australia particularly in the cooler areas along the southern
Blue-Ringed Octopus' Habitat
coast. The Blue Ringed Octopus specifically is found along the coasts of Northern Australia and farther north in the tropic western Pacific Ocean. 6 They can be located in shallow coral reef pools and shallow rock. The Blue-Ringed Octopus are active particularly after storms, digging around for crabs looking for their next meal. They tend to hide in crevices amongst located in the rock pools, and inside seashells. Their soft bodies are
vulnerable to prey which leads to their constant hiding.5

  • The area immediately in front of the opening is littered with the shells and hollowed-out legs of various crustaceans. It occupies aparticular nest for a long time and ventures forth only to hunt for foodor look for a mate. However, it cannot resist a new nest when one is offered. They, as well as other Octopus,are bottom dwellers and are not found in open water.3

—I10-82-octopus.jpgThe Blue-Ringed Octopus is typically the size of a golf-ball but can grow to be anywhere from 1-8 inches, while ranging from 10-100 grams. The dermal area (similar to skin) of the creature is grey and beige with light brown patches. —Camouflage/Blue-Rings— has 3 hearts just like other Octopus’ An individual blue-ringed octopus tends to use its dermal chromatophore cells to camouflage itself until provoked. Chromatophore cells are pigmented cells that reflect light often found in marine life, specifically cephelapods. When the blue-ringed octopus is in fear of danger approximately 50-60 bright blue rings pulsate on the body of the octopus. Body becomes a bright yellow.1

—Deadly Venom-
The Blue-Ringed Octopus is one of the most deadly creatures known to man. —The octopus produces venom that contains tetrodotoxin, 5-hydroxytryptamine, hyaluronidase, tyramine, histamine, tryptamine, octopamine,taurine, acetylcholine, and dopamine.— Tetrodotoxin blocks sodium channels, causing motor paralysis and respiratory arrest within minutes of exposure, leading to cardiac arrest due to a lack of oxygen. —The toxin is produced by bacteria in the salivary glands of the octopus. The Neurotoxin component found in the the blue-ringed octopus is the same toxin that is found in the Pufferfish
The Chemical Make-up of Tetrodotoxin
and cone snails. Tetrodotoxin is 10,000 more toxic than Cyanide ( What is used in mining to dissolve metals to ores or used as pesticide). The blue-ringed octopus, despite its small size, carries enough venom to kill 26 adult humans within minutes. Their beak can easily puncture the skin of a human although their bites are often painless.2

What Is Tetrodotoxin?-
Tetrodotoxin, also known "tetrodox" is sometimes referred to as "zombie powder" due to its extreme potency. Tetrodotoxin is a neurotoxin with no known antidote to cure the deadly symptoms. A neurotoxin is a chemical that directly effects the function of the central nervous system, often paralyzing the body. Although tetrodotoxin was discovered in pufferfish, blue-ringed octopus, cone fish, ocean sunfish, mola, tirggerfish, and porcupinefish, it is actually produced by a certain bacteria such as pseudoaltermonas tetraodonis, certain species of pseudomonas and vibrio as well as some others that reside within these animals.5
Blue-Ringed Octopus
Packets of sperm rest in the grooved tip of the male’s modified third arm, called a hectocotylus. While the male grabs the mantle of the female he insemnates her with sperm. The female is typically unable to see during the process.
The female lays approx. 50 eggs in an unattached clumps towards the end of autumn, which she carries in her arms until they hatch. During this period the mother is unable to eat. After the young emerge from their eggs, the mother dies. The new offspring reach full maturity within the year.3

The Blue-Ringed Octopus is carnivorous, feeding primarily on fish, crabs, mollusks and other small marine animals. It hunts every thing that it is able to overpower. It ambushes prey from the background. It often lures its victim by wiggling the tip of an arm like a worm; or it glides near and pounces on a crab, trapping the prey in its arms and dragging it towards its powerful beak-like jaws. Once it has bitten its prey, the octopus injects it with poisonous saliva to kill it. Either it cracks prey open with its jaws or it disarticulates them, and with the tips of its arms, removes any vestige of the edible parts. H. lunulata does not employ its beak other than to take from the suckers the portions that it has removed.3

— Feeds primarily on Crustaceans:
    • ghost-crab-1.jpg—Crabs
    • Mollusks
    • —Shrimp
    • —Also Reef Fish

—The blue-ringed octopus uses its 8 arms to ambush the prey from behind and then using its “bird-like” beak, bites through the victim’s shell to inject the toxic saliva. Ambush/Saliva injection. —With its arms and beak, the creature tears soft pieces from the prey, sucking the rest of the meat from the shell once it becomes partially digested by the saliva. 5


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