An importer wrote this in the Industry forum on RDO:
That sounds quite a bit like the kind of "anecdote escalated to fact" folk wisdom that's frequently wrong. I have no idea who Alex Kerstich is, but from googling he did write a book on marine inverts in the sea of cortez... nothing about blue-rings on the first page of results except what you quoted, though.
I'd trust Roy on details of this more than pretty much anyone else I've heard of. I had the impression that the TTX-producing symbiotic bacteria had been identified, and probably cultured, in at least several of the named blue-ring species... I have no idea about the other species IDed in Norman's book. It certainly seems anecdotally true that they don't bite humans often, and it's even plausible that the small one in the picture would have trouble piercing human skin, and maybe even that in some environments the bacteria doesn't colonize the octo to produce TTX.
Regardless of anecdotal evidence, I'd say it's a stupid thing to bet one's life on. Kinda like saying "I know lots of people who drive without a seat belt, and none of them have died in a car crash, so I'm going to show off driving without a seatbelt to impress my friends" or something. If this guy has decided for himself that he'd prefer to take the risks given the anecdotal evidence, OK, but the tone seems to imply "and I'm going to scoff at all you wimpy sissies who worry about this," which seems irresponsible and offensive to me...
If anyone wants to see the post in situ, it's http://www.reefs.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1302522&sid=3015df1ebcfd53486ec1280f6b2c1719
(click "previous page" to see the start of the thread)
There are people being obnoxious in several different directions... I tend to lean in the "why would I want an escape-prone, lethal, and fragile animal for a pet" side of things, but still, it's a valid point that they don't kill their owners, or their families, or researchers, very often. I want to be something of a libertarian with respect to things like this, so if someone wants to responsibly
own or do something dangerous, I think it's society's place to make sure they're informed rather than prevented, unless they're also putting innocent people at risk. Unfortunately, when I read some of the justification, posturing, and misrepresentation that goes into rationalizing the machismo of keeping toxic animals, I question that ideal... I'm certain that a lot of these people don't want an octopus in particular, they want to prove that they can keep a toxic animal without showing fear.