Greater blue-ringed octopus
|Greater blue-ringed octopus|
(Quoy & Gaimard, 1832)
The greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) is one of three (or perhaps four) species of venomous blue-ringed octopuses. Unlike its southern brethren, the Blue-lined and Southern Blue-ringed octopuses that are found only in Australian 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 depending if the octopus is young or adult.
The greater blue-ringed octopus eats mostly crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. Also, it eats reef fish that stray too close by. It injects them with a powerful neurotoxin that easily paralyzes them, which allows the octopus to devour its prey.
Their venom (a poisonous saliva), which includes a neurotoxin known as tetrodotoxin, is produced by bacteria in the salivary glands. Tetrodotoxin blocks sodium channels, causing motor paralysis and respiratory arrest within minutes of exposure, leading to cardiac arrest due to a lack of oxygen.
- Aquarium of the Pacific accessed 10 June 2013
- Robert Steven Hoffman et al.. Goldfrank's Manual of Toxicologic Emergencies. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 917. ISBN 0-07-144310-X.
- Hwang DF, Arakawa O, Saito1 T, Noguchi T, Simidu U, Tsukamoto K, Shida Y and Hashimoto K. (1989). Tetrodotoxin-producing bacteria from the blue-ringed octopus Octopus maculosus. Marine Biology 100(3): 327–332.
- Huffard CL, Caldwell RL, DeLoach N, Gentry DW, Humann P, B. MacDonald, B. Moore, R. Ross, T. Uno, S. Wong. 2008. Individually Unique Body Color Patterns in Octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) Allow for Photoidentification. PLoS ONE 3(11): e3732. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003732
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