Living deep in the waters off Australia, Philippine, New Guinea, and Indonesia, the ‘blue-ringed’ octopus is near the size of a ping pong ball. But be warned; did not let the size fool you. The poison in this octopus can paralysis a person and cause cardiac arrest. Even worse is there is no known antidote to this poison.
Near Australia where these octopus lives in shallow waters on the coast and are rather common in the areas that are visited byswimmers and beach-goers, there aredozens of reportedbites and well as deaths each year. Usually the victim is not aware of this danger and will pick up this little octopus that looks quite harmless or accidentally makes contact with it.
Bite and symptoms
The bite is only slight and produces at most only a tiny laceration with not much more than a tiny drop of blood and little or no discoloration. Bites are normally described as almost painless. In most cases, the victim doesn’t know that he has been gnawed into. This is what makes it hard for medical and emergencypersonal to determine the cause of the distress in the patient.
Might not have to bite
Actually there’s some question as to whether the octopus even needs to bite to envenomate a human. In those cases with contact for prolonged periods of time, the venom can pass straight through the skin. While most envenomation’s appear to be due to bites, scientist and experts have developed locally mild neurological symptoms after putting a hand in water which a large’ blue-ring’ had been shipped.
Symptoms dependent dose of venom
Depending on the amount of venom that is transmitted into the wound, the beginning of symptoms can be really rapid. Within 5 to 10 minutes, the victim will begin to cause parasthesias and numbness, advanced muscular weakness and trouble breathing and swallowing. Other problems can be:
• Nausea and vomiting;
• Visual disturbances;
• Difficulty speaking.
In cases that are severe, this is followed by:
• Flaccid paralysis;
• Respiratory failure;
• Unconsciousness and death due to lack of oxygen to the brain.
Interesting fact and symptoms
An interesting fact is the hearts of the victim will remainbeating until dangerouslack of oxygen sets in. Some victims have described being conscious while unable to speak or move. They might even seem dead clinically with pupils dilated and fixed. Not all bites result in the transferal of venom and the cruelty of symptoms are dependence on the dose. The small adults and especially children are the ones most at risk.
References and Credits
Some of the article was material from a non-profit he Cephalopod Page which uses many images generously donated by scientists and underwater photographers from all over the world. The source of pictures and text written by others is always credited at the bottom of the page it appears on. In most cases the photographers’ name has also been into incorporated the images. A list of all photographers that have donated images and their email addresses (when available) appears in the FAQ page. A warm thank you goes to all the scientists, divers and hobbyists who have either submitted material for these pages or have provided constructive criticism.