1. Niobe says

    Right after the Steve Irwin incident, I dove with Manta rays (4 meter wingspan) and bragged to my mom, and she was afraid for me.
    I explained to her they pose no threat but the size threw her off.
    During that dive I also saw this cute lil octopus with pretty blue rings on the ocean floor that couldn’t have been wider than 2 inches across. The paradox of that situation still gets me. It’s a good thing I have a “no touch” policy when diving.

  2. says

    It never does quite feel like Friday until I see the pretty cephalopod(s). This week I really needed it. Thanks, and as the sign in the Edinburgh pub window said, “TFIF”.

  3. says

    I was in an aquarium shop back in Winnipeg and I was looking at the new arrivals. Fish, fish, fish, octopus with blue rings, fish, fi- Holy crap! Nasty way to go if you get bitten by one of these beaks. You’re conscious right up to the point you go and can’t say a word.

  4. Steve_C says

    I want one of these as a tattoo hugging my right upper arm, japanese style. But I’m almost 40. It would be silly… right?

  5. says

    When my American boyfriend (now husband) and I were living at Coogee Beach in Sydney, his parents came over to visit. In their hotel room was booklet with all the exciting things Sydney has to offer.
    One was the Aquarium (which is a great place). It mentioned the wonderful touchpool they have for the kiddies complete with a photo of a Blue Ringed Octopus. Either someone had a sense of humour or they were really sick of tourists.
    Still gives me a chuckle.

    I’ve seen a couple, so small and cute.

  6. BrendanH says

    I’m sorry PZ but this is simply not acceptable.

    These are clearly Paisley, terrorist octopuses.

  7. says

    Steve C in #8: Friend of ours got her first (so far AFAIK only) tattoo when she was um 65? Haida-derived design just above her right ankle. She’s still pleased with it. “Almost 40”? C’mon, yer still a kid. Go for it!

    Come to think of it, I’m old enough to be your mother.

    If I had unlimited credit with a tat artist, I’d be getting one of those two as pictured, probably over/around my left shoulder, like a cap sleeve.

  8. says

    Beautiful little venomous things! (Note: they are venomous, not poisonous [to eat].) They can’t be too aggressive, as I believe they were well known as critters but we only realized they were dangerous when someone playfully threw one against his friend’s chest and it bit him.M

  9. says

    Actually, a tattoo of an octopus is probably perfect for us older folk, because when it begins to sag a little–who can tell?

  10. Holbach says

    coz @ # 9 Incredible how much punch is in that little(!) Blue Ringed Octopus! I have a healthy respect for these poisonous denizens of the ocean. When I was in the U S Coast Guard and patrolling inn the area of the Sargasso Sea, I used a boat hook to bring a Portugese Man Of War up on deck to get a closer look at this well known poisonous jelly fish. When I dropped it on the deck, a tiny, and I am not exaggerating when I say tiny, piece of the tentacle fell from the boat hook onto my inner right arm. Within minutes, that part of my arm from the crook to the hand was covered in blisters and the pain was excrutiating. It lasted for two or three days, and I think with dread if the whole mass of tentacles had enveloped me. From reports I read later of people actually dying from an encounter with these nefarious jellies, from then on I only looked and never touched. And how about one shot from a Cone Shell! Intelligently designed,eh?

  11. Sir Jebbington says

    I’m not going to lie.
    That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

  12. peter garayt says

    WOW. Can you imagine what the world would be like if humans skin did that during sex!
    peter g

  13. Steve_C says

    yeah… I was thinking the same thing on my right shoulder with the tentacles wrapping around my bicep. Maybe a couple trailing down to my elbow, want it to be graphic like japanese tattoo work (does that style have a name?) and the only color be the blue rings.

  14. says

    They can’t be too aggressive, as I believe they were well known as critters but we only realized they were dangerous when someone playfully threw one against his friend’s chest and it bit him.

    Monado, are you serious? Did he survive?

    And sorry to nit-pick Holbach, but the PMoW are colonial beasties, composed of highly specialised individual animals, unlike true jellyfish.

    Of course, that doesn’t make ’em any less stingy or painful.

  15. Troublesome Frog says

    I saw one in a pet store a few years ago as well. I asked the maintenance guy there if they knew what they had. He said, “Yeah. Why do you think the glass in that tank hasn’t been cleaned lately?” I can’t imagine thinking that it’s a good idea to sell one to any random guy who walks into your pet store with cash in his pocket.

  16. says

    My favorite octopus! I wonder what it says about me that one of the most venomous animals on the planet is one of my favorites? Absolutely amazing little animals.

  17. Forrest Prince says

    I was about to say something like “Don’t reach down and pet this critter”, but then I had a totally malicious thought about sending some of them as pets to certain people in the ID movement, but that’s just not right.

    However, I feel no obligation to warn them either.

  18. Longtime Lurker says

    Hey, weren’t blue-rings common classroom/laboratory animals for years, before their venomous nature was discovered?

    Forty is not too old for a tattoo, Steve_C, unless you want to be buried in an Orthodox Jewish cemetary. Since you post here, that’s not too likely, is it?

  19. says

    @alcari — I, too had the impression of fractals when I first glanced at this.

    Such a stunning picture!

  20. themadlolscientist says

    WOW. Can you imagine what the world would be like if humans skin did that during sex!

    It sure would make faking it impossible. And forget about trying to tell who was who in a three(or more)some! ;-)

  21. Holbach says

    Brownian,OM @ 19 Yes, as I found out when I got back to base, and checked them out(Ha!, the book, not the PMOW!) at the local library. Read all there was to know about those critters that make up this stinging lasso. Every time I hear the word nematocyst, PMOW, or see a picture of them, my right arm twitches. You never forget that horrible pain and the mass of blisters. But it’s that Cone Shell that makes me shiver, or should I say dead!

  22. dan says

    If you read the article that PZ linked to, you discover their nasty little secret; they socialize so little that they cant tell a male from a female, so they jump on anything with 8 legs! Ha!

    I know that taking my glasses off at the beach or the gym can lead to … embarassment, shall we say?
    But it just struck me as funny – the blue ringed octopus gliding up to a potential mate like Pepe La Pew; “oh my darling, my DARling! oh, wha- wha- what the hell is THIS?

  23. Holbach says

    dan @ # 30 Funny, especially the scenario with Pepe La Pew! I can picture Pepe watching as the blue ringed is inching up his leg and he says; “You are zee female, no?

  24. Mena says

    I kind of got the impression that it was sneaking around a corner, in a cartoon way. You know, the leg goes across the screen slowly, the body quickly follows.

  25. Bride of Shrek says

    Hah, Blue-ringed occies, conefish, killer sting-rays, we have all the best bitey, stingy things down here.

    As a kid you’re taught not to touch them ( Monado and his mates aside) but you do poke them with a stick when your oldies aren’t watching cause it makes the blue rings really colour up.(ok we were toady cruel little children)

  26. SEF says

    I’m another one who thought it (they) looked quite fractal. Cephalobrots or mandelpods? Julia set doesn’t seem to fit quite as well …

  27. Fernando Magyar says

    Hollbach re 14,

    Portuguese Man of War, I find them quite beautiful. They’re quite common in the waters where I dive in South Florida. They often wash up on the beach and I have been stung upon occasion both in the water swimming and by accidentally stepping on their extended tentacles after they have washed up on the beach. So I can personally attest to knowing what that feels like. Though it seems that over the years I may have built up a tolerance for their venom.

    Though they are not really Jelly fish.

    Physalia physalis

    The Bluebottle or Portuguese Man-of-War is not a single animal but a colony of four kinds of highly modified individuals (polyps). The polyps are dependent on one another for survival.

    The float (pneumatophore) is a single individual and supports the rest of the colony. The tentacles (dactylozooids) are polyps concerned with the detection and capture of food and convey their prey to the digestive polyps (gastrozooids). Reproduction is carried out by the gonozooids, another type of polyp.

  28. says

    Agree with the people saying it looks fractal — looking at its uppermost arm, my first thought was something like “Fractal Octopus imitates Mandelbrot set” (said, of course, in the requisite LOLCephalopod voice).

  29. bassmanpete says

    Hah, Blue-ringed occies, conefish, killer sting-rays, we have all the best bitey, stingy things down here.

    Not to mention Box Jellyfish, Taipan, Funnel-web & Redback Spiders, etc. Come to Australia, we have many ways of killing you (cackles maniacally :))

  30. gaypaganunitarianagnostic says

    Fortyish is not too old for a tattoo. I got my first (and probably last) at 66. I wasn’t very brave – it’s on my upper arm where it would be covered by a shirt sleeve. It’s a pentagram.

  31. Bride of Shrek says

    Men in white jackets let you out today David? Good to see the therapy is having an effect. Snark/

  32. says

    Gorgeous – and deadly. Dangerous Aussie animals ftw :)

    (though I am aware that H. lunulata isn’t just confined to waters Down Here)

  33. G. Tingey says

    Excuse me, but WTF?

    Who/what is “drmab”?

    The links quoted make no sense – not that that is suprising …..

    Can someone explain, or is drmab just another troll?

  34. Nick Gotts says

    G. Tingey@45
    drmab is a possibly dangerous psychotic, obsessively hostile to a number of prominent atheists and sceptics, including PZ but above all James Randi. His real name is Dennis Markuze, of Montreal, Canada. He returns under a new pseudonym every time he is expelled. I’d say it’s best not to respond to him in any way.

  35. Nick Gotts says

    Is the appearance of “fractality” maybe due to the rather octopoidal[?] appearance of the Mandelbrot set itself? Beautiful, anyway – I’d heard about these beasts, but as far as I recall, never seen one.

  36. Ex Partiate says

    It is a beautiful but deadly little creature. I would love to see a bunch of funide nuts fall into a pool full and see if they could pray their way out of that.

  37. Holbach says

    Nick Gotts @ 44 I’ll try to ignore him but it will be diffucult. Perhaps with one word? Dreck.

  38. negentropyeater says

    Interesting, this article about the fact that the males can’t tell the sex from another H. lunulata.

    -They are “mostly asocial animals,” says Caldwell. “They do not encounter other individuals that often and it probably pays to check out potential mating partners whenever they are encountered.”

    Is sexual blindness unique to H. lunulata or are there many other species in the deep blue with such sexual behaviour ?

  39. says


    Some years ago, I was at my preferred marine aquarium vendor when another customer came in with a bag of snails he wanted the store to look after while he effected his move from one home to a new one. The store agreed…

    … then the bags were examined: cone shells. ugh.