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The Blue-Ringed Octopus

Updated on February 24, 2016

Genus Hapalochlaena

Photo taken by Elias Levy
Photo taken by Elias Levy


 You can’t mistake the Blue-Ringed Octopus for anything else because of that distinct pattern of rings on them. No matter what other color they happen to turn themselves those telling blue rings will still be there. Of course if you don’t know what to look for you may assume you are just looking at a colorful part of the coral reef. That is part of their defense capabilities – to blend in so well to their surroundings.

A common question is what color is this species of Octopus? In their true colors they are various shades of yellow. Yet they are almost always seen in a shade of cream or brown due to the location where they happen to live. It is amazing to see them transform colors when the background around them changes.


 While this is a small Octopus – at about 8 inches if you don’t count the spread of the arms, it is the most powerful. The venom from one can actually kill a human and that isn’t something that is found with any other type of Octopus. They are able to move extremely quickly and you may lose sight of one. They are quite flexible so you may be looking at a very small opening that they just successfully squeezed their body into.

Most species of Octopus spend plenty of time either walking or crawling. Swimming though is the preferred method of movement for the Blue-Ringed Octopus. They move faster that way but it also serves as a way for their body to hide them. By moving in the bottom of the ocean sideways they can blend in to the surroundings. This is why they can sneak up on prey. However, it is also a problem because then people can step on them by accident.


 What happened over the course of time that allowed the Blue-Ringed Octopus to develop such a powerful venom? Something must have occurred that required them to develop a stronger defense mechanism throughout the course of history. Yet determining the evolution process for any Octopus has proven to be very hard to come up with answers.

No matter what species of Octopus you happen to be talking about though they have a history. There is no doubt they way in which they can adapt to new surroundings has allowed them to survive for millions of years. Yet there has to be some type of animal out here that they are derived from.

Even though we do know about how quickly they pick up information we aren’t evaluating their intelligence when it comes to evolution. Part of the changes are due to their adaptations but the others are related to their instinct and their anatomy. It is believed that the suction cup design on their arms is part of the evolution process to help them survive.

blue-ringed octopus Video


 This type of Octopus isn’t tolerant of anything else in its path. They are the most aggressive towards others of their species. They want to keep their habitat and food supply all to themselves. In fact, they have been known to eat each other just to ensure that they don’t have to share that same area.

Due to the fact that they don’t turn and run like other species of Octopus is a huge reason why humans are in fear of them. Even a human that is moving around minding his or her own business can end up being bitten by one. There is a chance of survival if someone immediately starts heart compressions but if a person is alone they may die within a matter of minutes.


 The Blue-Ringed Octopus is found in waters of Australia and Japan. They aren’t known to live in any body of water other than the Pacific Ocean. Stories of them have kept tourists in these areas from enjoying water related activities. Very few people though actually will ever be bitten by one. Yet we all know that we don’t want to be the one to end up being in that small category!

Researchers have a pretty good idea of the areas where this particular Octopus is known to reside. However, the problem really is that they move around to a new shelter location every couple of weeks.

Diet/Feeding Habits

 These Octopus do have a hearty appetite and they tend to consume a variety of food. They try to eat a great deal of it that doesn’t have shells on it. This includes fish but they also love to consume shrimp and hermit crabs. They are able to grab their prey quickly due to their speed. They can also have the element of surprise since they blend so well with all that surrounds them.

When they bite their prey they give off a very powerful type of venom. It will completely immobilize that prey. Should it have a shell then the Blue-Ringed Octopus will use its beak to break it. Their saliva can also help to dissolve the shells on those types of prey that are very difficult.


 Mating is a very natural type of activity for any animal, and that includes this species of Octopus. However, mating is a one time thing for them due to the design of the body. For the males, they will mate with a female for several days. When she says that she is done he better leave her alone or she will become very aggressive. As he goes off on his own his remaining days are numbered.

The female is going to survive for many more weeks but only because she has a serious job to do. Her body will create up to 50 eggs that she will fertilize with the sperm that the male placed into her body cavity. To keep these eggs well protected she will place them under her arms. The suction cups there will prevent them from falling off as she moves through the water. As the time for the eggs to hatch approaches she will be dying.

The young have to know how to swim and to look for food from the second they are born. They will swim to the swallow areas of the water to feed for the first couple of weeks of life. As they grow very quickly they will be moving deeper. By the time they are one year old they will be ready to mate themselves.

blue-ringed octopus


 Even though these are the most dangerous types of Octopus for humans, there are animals in the water that see them as an opportunity for a great meal. They include various types of birds, eels, and some species of whales. They may wish they didn’t tangle with the Blue-Ringed Octopus though because it can put up a fight to get away and sometimes it will be victorious.

Hunting for this species of Octopus by humans occurs too. Their goal is often to get rid of them so that there is less of a risk if harm in the water. They hunt them more so during mating season when there will be several in one area. They also feel more successful if they are able to kill the females before the eggs are laid.


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    pretty flower 4 years ago

    wow i don't know much about octopuses but u hub made me love octopuses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):D

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    ... 5 years ago


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    Jack Holmes 7 years ago

    Wow great article. I've been reading a lot about Octopodes recently and have to say that this is a really thorough and well written hub. Thanks for sharing.

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    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    A very interestingly written hub. Well dobne and thank you for ding all this research.