Greater blue-ringed octopus

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Greater blue-ringed octopus
Hapalochlaena lunulata2.JPG
Hapalochlaena lunulata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Octopoda
Family: Octopodidae
Subfamily: Octopodinae
Genus: Hapalochlaena
Species: H. lunulata
Binomial name
Hapalochlaena lunulata
(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 on age.[1]


The greater blue-ringed octopus eats mostly crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. Also, it eats coral 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 toxic 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.[2][3]

Variable ring patterns on mantles of Hapalochlaena lunulata[4]


  1. ^ Aquarium of the Pacific accessed 10 June 2013
  2. ^ Robert Steven Hoffman et al. Goldfrank's Manual of Toxicologic Emergencies. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 917. ISBN 0-07-144310-X. 
  3. ^ Hwang, DF; Arakawa, O; Saito, T; Noguchi, T; Simidu, U; Tsukamoto, K; Shida, Y; Hashimoto, K (1989). "Tetrodotoxin-producing bacteria from the blue-ringed octopus Octopus maculosus". Marine Biology 100 (3): 327–332. doi:10.1007/bf00391147. 
  4. ^ Huffard, CL; Caldwell, RL; DeLoach, N; Gentry, DW; Humann, P; MacDonald, B.; Moore, B.; Ross, R.; Uno, T.; Wong, S. (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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