|Whats in a blue ringed octopus venom?|
|Question Date: 2018-10-24|
The dangerous part of the venom of blue-ringed
octopuses is the neurotoxin
tetrodotoxin. It works by blocking the
passage of certain ions, thereby
preventing neurons from carrying messages and thus
muscles from flexing in response to environmental
stimuli (i.e., something seen, felt, heard, etc.)
This toxin is not produced by the octopus itself
though; bacteria living in the salivary glands
produce the toxin. The octopi and bacteria
have a symbiotic relationship, meaning that each
benefits from the presence of the other (the
octopi get a potent weapon, and the bacteria get a
nice place to live).
Tetrodotoxin is used by several other
organisms that host the same or similar bacterial
colonies, with pufferfish that are not prepared
properly being a common source of
The poison is tetrodotoxin, which
paralyses voluntary muscles (which includes
the muscles that you use to breathe, which is why
it's so deadly).
Blue ringed octopus venom is made of a
neurotoxin (a substance which is
poisonous to the brain) called tetrodotoxin.
It is the same toxin found in
puffer fish. It is produced by bacteria in
the salivary glands of the octopus. The
venom blocks nerve signals in your body. The
effects of the poison start with
muscle numbness, and eventually escalate to
blindness, loss of senses, loss of
motor skills, and eventually muscle paralysis -
which leads to respiratory arrest
since we need muscles to breathe. But don’t worry,
the blue ringed octopus is
not known to be aggressive. There have been no
reported deaths of blue
ringed octopus bites since the 1960s!
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