The venom contains tetrodotoxin, (also found in puffer fish) and is secreted in the saliva of the octopus. It causes blockade of sodium channels and thus neurological problems such as weakness, numbness or paraesthesia, breathing difficulties and paralysis. The patient may be completely paralysed and unable to respond, sometimes with fixed dilated pupils, but the sensorium is often intact, and care should be taken to avoid negative remarks which the alert patient may hear. Envenomations are uncommon (11 cases had been reported up to 1983, including 2 fatalities) but may require supportive treatment including mechanical ventilation until the effects of the venom wear off. There is no antivenom available in Australia for blue ringed octopus envenomation.
- Edmonds, C., Dangerous Marine Creatures, Reed Books, Frenchs Forest, NSW, 1989. [ Details... ]
- Lane, F. W., Kingdom of the Octopus. The Life-History of the Cephalopoda, Jarrolds Publishers Ltd., London, 1957. [ Details... ]
- Stackhouse, J., Australia's Venomous Wildlife, Paul Hamlyn, Sydney, 1970, 144 pp. [ Details... ]