Blue-Ringed Octopus

From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Hapalochlaena lunulata - (Quoy and Gaimard, 1832)
Blue-Ringed Octopus

Hapalochlaena lunulata.jpg

This small octopus is venomous and its bite is potentially fatal. Scott W. Michael

Overview

The rewards of octopus husbandry can be had without selecting one that can kill you. The blue-ringed octopus has bitten and killed many people, mostly fisherfolk in tropical countries, and deserves utmost respect. Death is caused by tetrodotoxin, which is also found in pufferfishes, some triggerfishes, certain newts, and other animals.

The symptoms of tetrodotoxin poisoning include sweating, dizziness, termors, seizures, inability to breathe, nausea, vomiting, and irregular heartbeat or heart failure.

This smallish species is characterized by having a light tan to white body covered with rings or “eyespots” of a bright or iridescent blue that flash when the animal is under stress.

It can turn aggressive and is prone to bite, injecting maculotoxin into its victim; this can lead to rapid paralysis and may even be fatal as there is no antivenin.

Family: Octopodidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Maximum length: 24 cm (9 in)

Maximum height: 28 cm (11 in)

Lighting: Diurnal cycle necessary. Dim to moderate lighting.

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

Feeding

Prefers live foods (small fishes or shrimps).

Aquarium Compatibility

Venomous.

Special Care

POTENTIALLY DEADLY. VENOMOUS. NO ANTIVENIN CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. Should not be kept by any amateur aquarist.

Notes

Keeping a small octopus is probably the best way to have an interactive marine pet, but keeping a small blue-ringed octopus is simply inviting a tragedy to happen.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Invertebrates
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: RLS