death by octopus

Yes, its yet another evil octopus post. I cheerfully admit I have kind of a thing for the cephalopods. (please do not be sending me the tentacle porn URLs. Its not THAT kind of a thing).

From Pharyngula comes report of an incredibly poisonous octopus in Australia. This is not so surprising, given that it is Australia (I once saw a nature show on TV called “Poisonous and Deadly creatures of Australia.” It took them more than twenty minutes just to list the spiders. Come to think of it it might have been part of an ongoing series).

The blue-ringed octopus in Australia is also poisonous (and in fact this was an important plot point in a really terrible Michael Crichton book I read last year). In the blue-ringed, however, the poison is concentrated in the salivary glands. The octopus has to bite you. And then unless they find you fast and put you on life support you become paralyzed, go into respiratory failure, and die. Cheery!

In this new octopus, however, found on the northwest coast of Australia, the poison is found throughout the octopus’ body, in enormous amounts. Also unlike the blue-ringed octopus, its a saxitoxin, which also happens to be one of the more vicious neurotoxins out there. I suspect it would be wise to avoid the octopus sushi in the area.

Pharyngula also today posts this fabulous photo of a baby octopus, which is so cute it almost makes you believe that the cephalopds are not actually waiting patiently and biding their time until they can seize the earth and wipe us from it in a cataclysm of eight-legged mayhem and gore. Cheery!

(I got it from Pharyngula.)