envenomation by Octopus digueti


TONMO Supporter
Mar 15, 2003
Last week exactly (saturday, 6 a.m.) I found an O. digueti in a clam shell and took a picture of him. The sun was behind clouds, and I wanted to get a lit shot, so I set the shell in the shallow (2") water and waited for the sun to peek out for a bit...well, Mr. Octo decided that that wasn't exactly what he wanted to do, so he moved out of the shell and began a trek onto dry land...now, there are hundreds of shore birds trying to get at the little cephs, so I picked him up and went to move him to a new hiding spot. Then the little b. bit me on the right hand ring finger...there was localized bleeding and some pain initially, but with the octo safely set down in a larger pen shell, I shrugged it off and went searching for more...
Much to my dismay, motor control of that finger, and then the entire limb became retarded in the next hour, and by mid-day, my right arm was numb and somewhat useless. By 7 p.m. , motor control had returned to the arm and hand, except the finger, which remained numb for over 36 hours.
Full motor control had resumed by tuesday morning.

Oh well, a small price to pay!
The little guy had quite a bite!

Did you do anything for it? The only remedy I've come across is very hot water poured onto the area.

Yes, octopuses can and do bite and the results are different according to the species, size, and maybe how seriously it tries to bite you.

A bimac bite seems to be pretty minor. I say that because Ollie bit my husband, not recognizing his hand (Ollie had investigated fingers, but not a hand before) and believing it was food. It was like a wasp sting, there was a bit of numbness for a minute in the finger, and only a tiny mark was left. (Ollie bit between the fingers).

OUCH!!! You didn't get worried and seek medical help???? Would have freaked me with the numbness streading to the arm. Amazing how such a tiny creature, has enough venom to give you those results, especially from a species that is not known to be that potent! Maybe you are allergic to that???

Sounds awfully potent! :shock: Is it possible envenomations of this species haven't really been reported much? I did some quick 'n dirty searching and did turn up some academic material on these guys, it appears plenty of folks have worked with them in labs...so I'd think there'd be some knowledge about how much a punch they pack, but nothing immediately obvious. Fascinating...glad you're okay!

LOLOL "Much to my dismay",LOLOL

Sorry, not laughing at your accident but just the difference in attitude between your dismay and Carol's freaking out!!!

Monty Python's Holy Grail comes to mind... ' its only a flesh wound!'
"come back here, I'll bite your legs off!"
The envenomation by pygmy octos is dubiously documented...but I have seen a mother digueti bothered by a fish bite it and release it...and the fish died shortly afterwards.
We may be able to obtain some diguetis soon for captive reproduction (already well documented by many keepers) and will keep you posted as to the status of our attempts...would be waaaay cool though! :o

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