5 Facts about this fascinating Underwater creature.
The blue ringed octopus is one of the ocean’s most interesting creatures. Shifting in shape and color, these octopi are truly the chameleons of the sea. The affectionately nick-named “BRO” is a super-star, topping the list of underwater photographers’ most sought after creatures. The most unusual feature of the blue ringed octopus explains its popularity. A usually calm beige skin becomes marked with bright blue rings when the octopus is threatened. Here are a few blue ring octopus facts that you may not have known.
Many Kinds! There are actually more than five different kinds of blue ringed octopi. The original blue ringed was discovered off the coast of Australia, and since then marine biologists have officially named five different types. More types are being studied every day. The most common types are the Lesser blue ringed octopus and the Greater blue ringed octopus. The types are named for the amount of rings, not their size.
Toxic One of the most interesting blue ringed octopus facts may save your life. The blue ringed octopus is one of the only venomous species of octopus. It is only about the size of a human hand, but the toxins found in the blue ringed octopus’ bite can kill a full-grown man. For self defense, this little guy uses tetrodotoxin, which is the same toxin found in puffer fish. The average sized blue ring octopus has enough venom to kill 26 human adults at the same time. There is no known antidote to blue ringed octopus toxin so those that suffer a bite should seek out a hospital immediately.
Really toxic! The blue ringed octopus doesn’t stop at one kind of fatal toxin. This venomous guy actually carries a secondary type of toxin especially for hunting. Harmless to humans but deadly to crabs and other prey, the blue ringed octopus bites its meal and renders it immobile with this secondary toxin. This venom is so potent that it is thought that the octopus may not even need to bite its prey – simply being in the vicinity of the venom cloud can kill a crab.
Illusory With all of these toxins divers may be wary of coming across a blue ringed octopus. Fortunately for skittish divers, the blue ringed octopus is very difficult to spot. Only the size of a human hand, the blue ring octopus can also change its shape to wriggle into cracks or hide under rocks. Its hunting schedule is primarily nocturnal, so spotting one of these guys can be a bit of a challenge, but worth it if you do happen across one!
Reproductive Life Unfortunately for the blue ringed octopus, both the male and female of the species die during reproduction. The male will die immediately after fertilizing the eggs. Each mating results in 50-100 eggs. The female lives through the process but will then guard her hutch with her life – literally. Females will refuse to eat during the 1-2 months of gestation and will starve to death rather than leave the eggs’ vicinity.