is Octopus macropus dangerous ?


Dec 17, 2003

My question may seem silly but I don't find answer in books. I had a conversation with some scuba divers about Octopus macropus and some of them (from different locations) say the bite of Octopus macropus may be quite dangerous for human, less than the bite of the blue ring octopus, more than the bite of Octopus vulgaris.

If some specialists know the answer, I would be glad to know that ! :smile:

not a specialist but they are said to have quite a potent bite. Again that is hear-say.

here is an interesting link to a bite from Octopus rubescens.

I think a lot depends on the individual who is bitten, perhaps some are more likely to react?
I put O. macropus in the genus Pinncotopus in 1999; the NZ Pinnoctopus species, P. cordiformis (formerly Octopus maorum) does not have a toxic bite as far as I am aware - but one has never bitten me, despite considerable handling of live, wild individuals (it just doesn't seem to be a biting/aggresive species); the species has quite large anterior and posterior salivary glands. I'm not sure if this is a generic character state, but I've not heard of P.macropus being a biting/venomous species either.

As Colin says, it probably has a lot to do with the individual on the receiving end of the chomp. Analogy - I saw someone's face swell up, and eyes close over at the near sight of a christmas tree (pine) yesterday - some allergic reaction; I have the same problem with spiders :wink:
Thanks Colin and Steve for your answers :smile:

I agree with you on the fact that some people may be more sensitive to a toxic bite than others but I find it strange that this species is considered by some people as a toxic one. Maybe the pattern (white spot on a red body), the fact these individuals are considered among divers as relatively difficult to see (in fact you only have a chance to see them at night) with a shape and a behaviour different than our common Octopus vulgaris may have contributed to make some sort of "urban legend".

I don't think Octopus macropus is an aggressive species. The last one I saw was yesterday evening (here's a picture :wink: ) , a nice animal but its behaviour was clearly evasive. It moves faster than octopus vulgaris and tends to hide easily. In fact we often meet in the same dive Octopus vulgaris and O. macropus in the same environment. O. vulgaris does not move a lot or move quit slowly and ignores us most of the time which is all the contrary of O. macropus :wink: .
There is a huge amount of individual variation in reaction to octi bites. O. huttoni, O. warringa are harmless, been bitten twice (not comfortable mind you, like a bee or wasp sting) with no after effects really, but we had a student get bitten and had to be rushed to hospital with an anaphylactic attack. So I think care is required!

also true for tarantula bites... Ive been nailed by a red rump that didnt hurt more than a nip and lingering sting... but some people come up with huge lumps and so on
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