The tiny yet vibrant octopus, which is endemic to Western Australia and northern Tasmania, has the ability to kill a human in just a few minutes with its lethal venom.
The Ocean Conservancy claims the species, whose blue rings appear as a warning signal to predators, has venom that is ‘1,000 times more powerful than cyanide,’ and that these powerful creatures have enough of the stuff to kill 26 humans within minutes.
The octopus feeds primarily on small crustaceans, including shrimps and crabs, but is able to produce a potent neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin, a potentially-deadly substance also found in pufferfish.
The venom works by blocking nerve signals in the body, causing muscle numbness, nausea, vision loss or blindness, loss of senses and loss of motor skills. Eventually muscle paralysis sets in, including the muscles humans need to breathe, which leads to respiratory arrest.
There is currently no known anti-venom to treat a person who has been bitten, but according to the Ocean Conservancy, ‘victims can be saved if artificial respiration is started immediately.’
Its painless bite could go unnoticed at first, so if you see one of these little creatures it pays to be careful. It is only likely to bite you ‘if cornered or handled.’ There have been no known deaths from blue ringed octopus bites since the 1960s.
Main image: Stock photo via Pixabay.