Blue Ringed Octopus
By Ashley and Holly
DescriptionThe Blue Ringed Octopus may look cute, but it holds enough venom to paralyze and kill 26 adults. Pretty impressive for a guy that's only 12cm-8 inches. The octopi are named for their blue and black circles on its yellowish bodies. Chromatophores light up the rings whenever the octopus gets agitated, illuminating the blue with pulsating lights. The lights send a clear signal to any predators around to back off. Average spot counts for the blue ringed octopi are somewhere between 50-60 spots distributed equally across its body and 8 tentacles. Camouflaging causes the octopi to change colors from hiding place to hiding place. They have specialized skill cells and chromatophores throughout their skin that can pull different pigments to the surface on desire. It changes their appearance in a split second, making them the masters of disguise. In this video you can see what the octopus will look like when it turns the blue rings.. on.
HabitatLike many Octopi, the Blue Ringed Octopus prefers to reside in tide pools, rock pools, and shallow corals, all comfortably around Australia. Different species are found spread though the tropical Pacific ocean, from Australia all the way to Japan, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and the Philippines. They prefer to keep in pretty shallow depth ranging from 0-50 meters below sea level.
It is still disputed how many species there are of Blue Ringed Octopuses; some sources have even theorized there could be up to 16. There are 3 main species that can easily be classified. The Greater Blue Ringed Octopus is the largest of the 3, roughly 8 inches, and weighing up to 100 grams. They have larger rings and live in the waters off of Northern Australia and farther north in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The next species is the Southern Blue Ringed Octopus that has smaller rings, and is quite a bit more common. They weigh an average of 25 grams, and can grow up to 20 cm in length. Southern Australian have seemed to be where they call home. The Blue-Lined Octopus is the third species, and following its name has blue lines instead of rings, with the rings still continuing along its arms. Their homes are found between southern Queensland and southern New South of Australia. There is a fourth that is still being disputed over, called the Hapalocha Maculosa. It is found in temperate water from southern Australia to shallows of tropical islands nearby.
Food and DefenseSmall crabs, hermits, shrimp, and small fish make up the Octopus's diet. They hunt by pouncing on their prey after stalking them in camouflage, then as they near they 'pounce' covering the prey with tentacles and give them a paralyzing bite. Their beaks are used to tear off pieces of their prey's flash to eat, or suck out from crustacean's exoskeleton. Unlike other Octopi that have ink for a defense, the Blue Ringed Octopus has a second venom for self defense instead. It is similar to that of a puffer fish, and is created in the octopus's salvitary gland. After a predator is warned with the flashing blue and bright yellow change that the Octopus puts on, it will bite the predator. The bite will cause paralysis, respiratory arrest, and cardiac arrest due to lack of oxygen. In humans there is still no cure, and a bite will kill in minutes. The only treatment found to work so far is artificial breathing until the venom has worked through the respiratory system. Blue Ringed Octopi were not known to be poisonous until 1954 when a young fisherman put one on his shoulder and was bit, dying soon after. Today it is known as one of the deadliest threats in the world. Today there is no conservation threat against the Blue Ringed Octopi. However, people have started overreacting to the knowledge of their toxicity level, causing people to become nervous around them and hurt them.
ReproducingReproducing is determined mainly by the females. Males take part in a mating ritual where the males approach the females and try to goad them in by caressing them. When they are accepted by a female the males climb on top and grab a hold of their mantle, obscuring the females vision. Males then transfer sperm packets by inserting his hectocotylus into her mantle cavity. Sometimes the males get a little over eager and has to be removed by force. The females then hold on to several different males sperm packets until she chooses which one she wants to use, then lays 50-100 eggs at the end of August. Eggs are incubated for 6 months, and during this time the mom won't eat anything. So after the eggs hatch, the mother dies. The new Eggs will reach maturity in a year, then die 2 years after hatching.
SourcesWikipedia-Blue Ringed Octopus, Information on the Blue Ringed Octopus, the sub species of the Blue ringed Octopus, and it was helpful in finding the classification.
Did You know? 'The worlds most deadleous Octopus is the size of a golf ball'. It was an interesting website on the venom, when they discovered it, and what some of the symptoms and solutions are.
Australian Cephalopods-'The Blue Ringed Octopus'; a great website that discussed a little more in depth about the Southern species.
Marine Biology 'blue ringed Octopus'; website touched on more information about the Lined Octopus and about the conservation Status.
Wikipedia-Chromatophores 'Chromatophores' website talked all about chromatophores as a defense and ect. was able to obtain more information about the Octopi's use of them.