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Blue-Ringed Octopus Facts

Updated on April 2, 2019

The blue-ringed octopus is a very fascinating creature. With it's small size, deadly hunting abilities and beautiful colors, this is one dangerous octopi! In this article I will discuss it's habitat, size and color, hunting styles, and breeding. Have fun reading on and learning about the blue-ringed octopus.

Coral Reef that the Blue-ringed octopus lives
Coral Reef that the Blue-ringed octopus lives | Source

Habitat

The blue-ringed octopus lives in the rock pools. shallow waters, tide pools and coral reefs in Australia. This octopus is a nocturnal sea creature found commonly in shallow, sandy waters surrounded my the coastal coral reef. These little guys like to have dens, or nests and will often nest in bottles, aluminum cans or mollusk shells. Another way these creatures hide is to burrow in sand or gravel.

A young tiny blue ringed octopus.
A young tiny blue ringed octopus. | Source

Size & color

You might think this octopus, in order to be so deadly has to be huge right? Wrong. This little Blue-ringed octopus only grows up to be about eight inches, weighing only around three ounces! That's roughly the size of a adult human hand. This small size helps them hide from predators and catch their prey. They can hide in tiny crevasses and lay in wait for their unsuspecting prey to walk by or hide from something that may think it's a tasty snack.

The bright blue spots on the octopus also help to scare off predators. When at rest the blue ringed octopus will look beige or gray with light brown patches but when it's agitated or frightened it can pop up about 50 or 60 bright blue rings and pulsate with color. This is a warning to anything trying to harm it or get to close to it.

Blue-ringed octopus showing off it's colors as a warning.
Blue-ringed octopus showing off it's colors as a warning. | Source

Did you know?

  • Octopus tentacles can grow back if they are cut off after a few years.
  • The blue ringed Octopus has three hearts and bleeds blue blood
  • In the wild they can only live up to two years
  • The blue ringed octopus can see clearly underwater and can recognize it's favorite prey.

Hunting Styles

This octopus has two ways of hunting when ambushing it's prey. While hiding in a small crevasse it spots its prey, a small crab walking along the sea bed. Now the octopus has two choices, one it can charge and strike the prey, gripping it in its strong tentacles and bite it with it's sharp beak, injecting it with a deadly paralyzing poison or, it can release the deadly toxin into the water and kill it's prey that way. The toxin/poison this creature produces is strong enough to kill a human in a matter of minutes with just one bite. However because of their small size they have limitations on what they eat. Primarily their diet consists of crabs and mollusks however it will also eat small fish that swim by. Once the prey is dead, the octopus will use it's tentacles and beak to tear off pieces of meat to eat and suck out the meat from the shell.

Blue ringed octopus eggs.
Blue ringed octopus eggs. | Source

Breeding

A hectocotylus is a packet of sperm on the grooved tip of the male Octopus's third arm. The male will take these packets and slip them under the mantle of the female and into the oviduct through a gill slit. This transfers the sperm to the females eggs. After the female lays her eggs in several unattached clumps she will carry them around with her in her arms until they are ready to hatch. When the young emerge the mother dies.

With enough poison to kill a horse with one bite, this beautiful creature might look tiny and delicate but it is a deadly and crafty hunter. Using it's blue rings to warn attackers of it's toxicity, it often hides in the coral reef off of Australia. They often use their tentacles to reach into crevasse to find food. The suckers are sensitive and can even taste something to let the octopus know if it's found something tasty to eat.

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