Solid info on toxins in cephalopods.

Nov 15, 2017
North carolina
This is a much debated topic i thought i might clear up a little, So instead of going out with a bang i'm going in with one. This is my first post and if you would like to, you can address me as jackson. Thank you, and let's get started. All cephalopods have a little bit of numbing poison in them for killing prey, except for a few species of squid. There are multiple species of VENOMOUS octopus that have dangerous potential with their toxins, these species are hapalochaena fascia, lunulata, maculosa, and I don't believe nierstraszi is considered a valid species yet, so I will not include it. These are the blue ringed octopi. They each contain the following ingredients, tetrodotoxin, the main toxin, histamine, tryptamine, octopamine, taurine, acetylcholine, and dopamine as well. This causes motor paralysis, and respiratory arrest within minutes of exposure. It is enough to kill at least 11 grown men. Next up is the flamboyant cuttlefish! metasepia pfefferi, My favorite on this list, there is rather little information regarding this species which contains similar toxin to the blue ringed octopus but there has been absolutely NO research done extensively on their biology at the time of this threads writing. If there was I would know about it. the other species in the genus metasepia, is metasepia tullbergi. This cuttlefish contains the majority of the same componets as pfefferi, but contains tetrodotoxin too. The main dividing line between toxins in the blue ring and flamboyant cuttle is that the blue ring can exploit the poison in a bite, metasepia sp. Cannot. They have their poisons located in their body, preventing them from being eaten. This upcoming news is what will be shocking. Sepia bandensis and officinalis both contain tetrodotoxin! It is located in the brain, heart, and blood. And last but not least, the paper nautilis. Only the female contains the toxin, as well as being visibly different from the male as well. Even the worlds top scientists haven't the slightest idea what is in the poison! So don't ask me. If you have any questions or I got something wrong, please post below.
If I am not mistaken, there was a study done on the flamboyant several years ago, confirming the expected toxicity of the tissue, hinted at during a documentary. Here is a discussion from 2014 that discusses the state of the unknown at that time. Googling poisonous cuttlefish will point to numerous discussions about the flamboyant but I did not look for a peer reviewed paper.

Unless there is new info, my last reading on the blue ring was that we don't know where the tetrodotoxin comes from and it may be that if we could raise blue rings in captivity (@mucktopus makes a similar comment in the above link), they would not be toxic at all. There is some suspicion that they lose their poison if housed in captivity over a long (relative to their short life) period of time. Your newest info might suggest that the toxin is consumed or part of digestion and stored or eliminated differently among cephs.
Captive bred cephs of the following species: sepia bandensis and officinalis, metasepia pfefferi and tullbergi, as well as multiple species of hapalochaena and have all been captive bred, grown, bred again, and had toxin in them even after numerous generations. This study was at a college and I was lookin through their research papers.
Are you sure about the hapalochaena? I try to keep up with the latest on cephalopod breeding success and I know of no blue ring species that has been born in captivity and survived through an adult stage. Captive hatched, small egg species survival is abysmal for all cephs. If you know of papers showing the captive toxicity of the others, please link an abstract or provide university so that I can dig up the papers as the info is definitely something I would like to have referenced in our Cephalopod species section.
You can add a link in two ways.
If the pasted link is a video, using the first method will embed the video so that it can be played directly from the TONMO site. If the link is some other identifiable URL, it will provide a title. In the second instance, the text is not changed. (2).pdf this talks about how it is located in terrestrial animals, as well as algae and mollusks. Puffer fish are known to not produce their own tetrodotoxin but get it from their diet, but it seems as though some people think that these cephs produce it on their own, but some think it come from their diet. I rather hate to admit it (although in todays world not surprisingly!) but some of the "solid info" I could have gotten may not have been fact, as stated, as much as theory.
That 1989 paper uses wild caught animals to look at the TXX in blue ring octos. It does not appear to confirm (or deny) the question of naturally created vs environment acquired toxicity. It would not be the first ceph to utilize an acquired bacteria.

There is also a question about the toxicity (to humans) of O. mototi's bite. It is possible that human toxicity (or at least in the extreme) is only a problem when eaten. I don't know of any recent papers studying this animal.
I rather hate to admit it (although in today's world not surprisingly!) but some of the "solid info" I could have gotten may not have been fact, as stated, as much as theory.
Sadly, it is difficult to find ways to validate "facts" as many "news" sites simply copy from others and propagate misinformation. Some of the original science blog posts are well done (and usually reference the original paper link) where others seem to just make stuff up. I keep a Google Scholar scan active in an attempt to capture the abstracts and locations for ceph related research. If a found article is specific to a species, I try to remember to add it to an entry in the Cephalopod Species forum. Octopuses are all located under Octopodidae but squid are not as easy to classify.
Most of the "new" pdfs it said I needed to purchase for some reason, and the other ones (there were quite a few I did not post,)seems to be a bunch of fake news now. This'll all be figured out someday I hope, but i really feel like an idiot making a post on misinformation. Thank you for clearing all this up, and btw, how do you get google scholar scan, sounds like an interesting tool.
How do you get a "Google scholar scan"
Create an account (free) with Google Scholar. Click on the three bar menu (top left), select Alerts, click the CREATE ALERT button and type in keyword information to be scanned and sent to your email. You can use conditions like OR or AND (I have not tried NOT). It accepts 'author: "author name in quotes". The info is very sketchy and you can't modify (but can delete) entries. Here is a PDF that @Jean 's university wrote to guide students. Unfortunately, the advanced search arrow does not seem to be available any longer.

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