Male blue-ringed octopuses will attempt to mount and mate with any fellow members of their species that they encounter. This leads to brief and amusing tussles if two males meet but, being such a solitary species, it must be pragmatic to shag first and chit-chat later.

Small octopus of the genus Hapalochlaena, inhabits coastal areas of the western Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean ranging from Japan to Australia. Typical size when spread is no more than 15cm/6 in (mature specimens can reach 20cm/8 in) and it weighs around 25-30g/1oz. Often encountered in tidal pools where it hunts crabs and other small prey. When disturbed it displays iridescent blue rings on its body and sometimes yellow and black stripes. Like many deadly creatures it's one of the most spectacular of its kind.

It's one of the smallest members of the octopus family but also one of the most famous since its bite is venomous and one of the most deadly in the animal kingdom. It's especially dangerous because its bite is painless and the victim may not notice it. There is no known antidote to its neurotoxin, which is similar to that of the puffer fish (tetrodotoxin in both cases), however the octopus is non-aggressive and only objects to being picked up or stepped on.

Taxonomy: Kingdom Animalia : Phylum Mollusca : Class Cephalopoda : Order Octopoda : Suborder Incirrina : Family Octopodidae : Subfamily Octopodinae

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