Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Creature Feature: Cephalopod Acid Part 1 - Blue Ringed Octopus.

Cephalopods - the family containing squids, octopi, cuttlefish, and nautili - are some of the trippiest members of the animal kingdom. They squirt ink, glow in the dark, and have some of the best mimicry ever seen in nature. It's as if that whole class of animals had taken a dose of LSD in the Late Cambrian and kept doing it for a few hundred million years.

The blue-ringed octopus (genus Hapalochlaena) also went to the drug-fueled evolutionary rave party. Like many cephalopods, it has has amazing camouflage capabilities. It can blend in perfectly with its habitat (the tide pools of the Pacific Ocean, including those around Australia) by quickly changing the color of its stretchy skin. It is a small octopus that only feeds on crabs and other crustaceans, but size does not matter in this case. If threatened, it becomes a bright, aesthetically-pleasing creature with bright blue rings.

Lady GaGa's next outfit design. *SHOT.*
It is, of course, poisonous.

The little octopus warns you with its blue-spotted, gold-yellow body. Any predators stupid enough to attack something with spots like that are doomed. The poison this octopus uses does not just cripple - it kills. It kills ANYTHING.

Remember that poison from the fugu fish, tetrodotoxin? Yeah. This octopus uses that poison. There was a reason I did not detail its effects last time; I was saving them for this entry.

First off, unlike being poked by a puffer fish's spines, the bite of this octopus barely hurts. You probably do not even know that you have been bitten until your lungs stop working, which happens within minutes of a bite. Your body is totally paralyzed, leaving you unable to signal for help as the venom slowly kills you. It doesn't matter whether you are a crab or just an asinine human. It will still ****ing kill you.

MWAHAHAHA! Come into the void!

You are aware of every minute of it. This poison does not knock you out. Instead, it lets you contemplate the dumbass mistake you made of touching the acid octopus as your body slowly shuts down. After all, it wasn't out to get you.

If you DO manage to get medical help, and survive the first 24 hours of poisoning, you are probably in the clear. If you were alone when you got the bite, you're probably fucked. Sorry.

Do not enrage the Great Old Ones, for they have powers of psychedelic EVIL! IA IA CTHULHU FHTAGN!


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