Blue Ring Octopus – Beautiful Yet Deadly

June 9th, 2024 • uwt

Blue Ring Octopus – Beautiful Yet Deadly

There are over 300 species of octopus in the ocean ranging in size up to a four meter arm span. They live in all of the world’s oceans and fill many a niche in their habitat. However, perhaps the most interesting of all species is the diminutive Blue Ring Octopus. There are four species of Blue Rings and they are only found in the Indo Pacific region.

Blue Ring Octopus

Toxin That Packs a Punch

Of course the first question that everyone has about these octopi is “How venomous are they?” In short, very! However, it’s a bit of a complicated question as their toxicity is somewhat complicated. Unlike most venomous marine life, the blue ring has both a venomous bite as well as being toxic to consume. A pufferfish for example is only toxic if you were to eat the wrong part of it, it doesn’t have a venomous bite. The blue ring boasts a tetrodotoxin that causes paralysis to all of the bodies organs. This means it can cause death due to asphyxiation once a person is no longer breathing. Of course it’s not a common thing to be bitten by a blue ring so we suggest not getting bitten by one!

Blue Rings In Indonesia

We find these octopus throughout Indonesia. They are normally found on rubble like bottoms where they blend in very well with the background. People who encounter one for the first time are always surprised how small they are. They are typically around the size of an adult male thumb. In Bali the best place to find them is in the Padang Bai area and certain areas of Amed. Other areas of Indonesia where we find them are Lembeh Strait, Komodo, Ambon, Raja Ampat, and Triton Bay.

Blue Ring Octopus with Rings Displayed

Finding Blue Ring Octopus

One of the reasons these animals are in high demand by photographers is the fact they are quite hard to find. They have the ability to change their skin texture and colour in order to blend in. Coupled with an ability to stay absolutely still for long periods of time, these tiny cephalopods are a challenge to find. A talented dive guide is a must in order to find them. We always suggest diving with an outfit who specialize in critter spotting.

Photographing a Tiny Octopus

Photographing these small octopi can be a challenge. As they are mainly found on rubble, it’s hard to get them to stand out from the background. There are various methods one can use to photograph them in a pleasing fashion. One of the easiest is to experiment with different strobe positions to avoid lighting up the background. If you have a snoot, this works well for blue rings as it will only light up the octopus and not the surroundings. One of our favorite methods is to simply use a limited depth of field such as f4 to blur out the background. Whatever method you choose, if you can catch the octopus with its blue rings shining then you have captured a wonderful photo.

Blue Ring Black Background

Blue ring octopus displaying rings, Hapalochlaena sp., Lembeh Strait, Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, Pacific Oceanng

If you are looking to encounter a blue ring octopus then Indonesia should certainly be on your radar. Lembeh Strait and Bali are two fantastic destinations to check out for these cute little cephalopods. Please let us know if you are interested in joining us for a Bali diving adventure and we can get you on your way with our talented critter spotters.