Learn about the "Octopussy" Blue-Ringed Octopus

Marie Milton By Marie Milton, 8th Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Nature>Fish

The blue-ringed octopus has a deadly bite and is the oceans most venomous creatures. It uses its glowing skin and blue rings to warn off predators.

Learn about the "Octopussy" Blue-Ringed Octopus

Found in the shallow warm waters of the Indian and western Pacific, lives one of the ocean’s most venomous creatures: The Blue-Ringed Octopus.
It’s bright blue circles are there to warn other animals to keep clear. If victims swim too close to this octopus, it traps them with its powerful, suckered arms and paralyzes them with venom.
If it is disturbed, the blue circles become more intensified then when it is relaxed. This is done by clenching its tiny muscles in the skin. This causes the blue pigment to show up more clearer.

Other areas of its habitat range from Sri Lanka to Indonesia, Japan and Australia. Especially among the coral reefs.

Another fish that has tetrodotoxin, the poison secreted in the octopus’s saliva, is the puffer fish. The puffer fish is a Japanese delicacy, but preparation of the fish is required from a skilled chef to remove the lethal toxins from its flesh.

Although the blue-ringed octopus is small in size, it is not a tiny as the worlds smallest octopus which measures only 5 cm.

Whereas the blue-ringed octopus is between 7.52 and 11.5 cm. The largest of the octopus species is O. dofleini, with an overall length of nearly 5 meters.

To travel, the octopus hauls itself across the seabed by its tenticles. It can also pull itself backwards through the water by sucking in water then jetting it out again. But this is mainly done for emergencies away from predators. Although its prominent blue rings help prevent predators even coming near in the first place. If a predator does manage to attack the octopus, both the attacker and victim will be killed.

Crabs and crustaceans are what makes up most of the octopus’s diet. Finding prey as it sweeps across the oceans seabed; or it can just sit and wait in a rock crevice for dinner to come passing by. Each sucker on its tentacles hold fast, leaving the octopus’s victim at its mercy. The tentacles can easily break apart seashells, and the jaws of its parrot-like beak are strong enough to puncture even the toughest crab shell.

The blue-ringed octopus is not an endangered species. However, although much of its habitat is undisturbed, the shallow waters near land are easily upset by pollution and develpment of commercial fishing or tourism. The other threat is by the fear and ignorance of passing divers who believe it to be dangerous. The octopus has never been known to bite humans unless provoked.

Mating occurs by the male and female gathering together on a clear, rocky surface. They may embrace for several hours, and during this time the male uses a specially modified tentacle (the third on the right) to pluck a bundle of sperm from his body and insert it into the female’s
oviduct. Males usually die within a month of mating.
The female carries her ‘bundles’ of eggs after she has laid them. Then does nothing but care for her eggs: not moving or eating.

After 90 days the eggs hatch, but she usually dies from exhaustion soon after. The baby octopuses each have their own yolk sac to keep them fed for a few days until they are able to find food themselves.

Each tentacle has approximately 40 suckers, each about 5mm across.
The octopus has two perfect eyes. These eyes provide super vision. The octopus can change the shape of each eye by moving the lens back and forth, to focus on near or distant objects.

The lifespan is about 2 years.


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Meet the author

author avatar Marie Milton
23 year old lass from England. I have always written songs, poetry, stories, you name it...
I am a sucker for nature and animals.
I have a view of the world which is no doubt in common with many people. I intend to make the world a more peaceful plac...(more)

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