blue ring octo venom

Discussion in 'Physiology and Biology' started by Reptiboy, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. Reptiboy

    Reptiboy Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    im sure uve all gone over this enough but i was hoping u guys could fill me in on it since im doin a project on em for school
     
  2. Tintenfisch

    Tintenfisch Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,083
    Likes Received:
    171
    You're right - try searching 'blue ring' and 'venom' on the forums. :smile: The toxin itself is called tetrodotoxin (TTX) so you will get more specific results if you search for that.

    I suggest starting with Neogonodactylus' summary on The Cephalopod Page.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,218
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    BR toxin is deadly and related to tetrodotoxin (like a puffer fish). The saliva contains maculotoxin (the tetrodotoxin look alike!), 5-hydroxytryptamine, hyaluronidase, tyramine, histamine, tryptamine, octopamine, taurine, acetylcholine, and dopamine.

    The maculotoxin blocks sodium channels, causing motor paralysis and sometimes respiratory arrest leading to cardiac arrest due to a lack of oxygen. The toxin is created by bacteria in the salivary glands of the octopus.

    There is no anti venom and treatment requires that the patient be placed on a respirator until the venom is flushed from the body. Tetrodotoxin poisoning can result in the victim being fully aware of his/her surrounds but unable to breathe. So you need to carry out CPR even if the victim is not responding..........they could still be alive!

    The blue-ringed octopus is currently the most toxic known sea creature, it carries enough poison to kill 26 adult humans within minutes.

    Nasty stuff!!

    J
     
  4. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    I don't have time for a big post, but a few pointers that may help:

    The part of blue ring venom that is toxic to humans (there may be other components) is commonly called TTX (tetrodotoxin.) It's the same toxin that is found in puffer fish and in a species of newt (? or is it salamander?), but in all these animals, it's actually produced by symbiotic bacteria. It's method of action is to bind to the voltage-gated sodium channels in nerve axons that are an important part of the system to send "action potentials" or "spikes" down the long part of the nerve (unlike wires, nerves actively propagate the signals). The TTX blocks these channels and essentially shuts down the animal's nervous system. In humans, the heart survives this, and the brain and spinal cord are protected by the blood-brain barrier, which TTX doesn't cross, but all of the peripheral nervous system can be shut down by TTX in the bloodstream (where the octo bit and injected it into the blood, or from the stomach for someone who ate Fugu or something.) In particular, that means that the nerves can't tell the muscles to breathe, so respiration stops. Fortunately, TTX only binds to these channels for around 12-24 hours, so if the person is put on a respirator, they can be kept alive for a while and recover. Unfortunately for that person, the brain is still working fine (because of the blood-brain barrier) so they're often conscious, aware, and alert, but can't breathe, talk, or move.

    I'd suggest googling for TTX to find more information (including the full name). There are good articles on blue-rings on the cephalopod page, too, including this one: http://www.thecephalopodpage.org/bluering1.php

    another good google search might be "hapalochlaena"
     
  5. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    Wikipedia says "Tarichatoxin and maculotoxin were shown to be identical to tetrodotoxin in 1964 and 1978, respectively." -- but it's wikipedia, so who knows if it's right, but I'm pretty sure I'd read that elsewhere. Did that turn out to be wrong, and maculotoxin is a bit different chemically? I know the mechanism of action is the same...
     
  6. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Half of the problem is that many researchers are still using gas chromatographic analysis, which is spotty at best...and getting different results with testing. Once they can nail down some of the more fluid components, there might be some cohesive ideas coming out of the venom labs.
     
  7. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,026
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm hoping that your school project doesn't include actually having a blue ring.
     
  8. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well, it would certainly make for some interesting LD 50 tests...

    "ouch!"

    Thump.
     
  9. Reptiboy

    Reptiboy Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    no no no it doesnt, tho maybe id get extra credit for "demonstrating" the capabilities of the venom on a particular student i dont like jk jk...
     
  10. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,218
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    Quite likely! Chemistry was never my strong suit, so I was hedging my bets by calling it a TTX look alike :grin:

    J
     
  11. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,364
    Likes Received:
    7
    hahahahahaha, that's so wrong... but so funny.
     
  12. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    658
    Likes Received:
    137
    Let's just say that the characterization of blue-ring venom is a mess. Becky Williams, a graduate student in my lab, has been working on this problem for a couple of years and all I can say is "It ain't easy". First of all, there are several species of blue-ring and we aren't even sure that they all have TTX. Second, some of the earlier studies misidentified the species of blue-ring they were studying. Third, it appears that some of the attempts to culture TTX producing bacteria from the posterior salivary glands of blue-rings had serious contamination issues. Fourth, it is quite possible that not all populations of blue-rings have the same levels of TTX - or that TTX persists in animals maintained in the lab.

    If you want to know how complicated these issues are, take a look at some of the papers by the Brodie's on the arms race between TTX containing salamanders and their garter snake predators. (Becky Williams did her Masters using this system which is how she ended up in my lab.) There are huge differences in TTX concentrations from population to population and in garter snake resistance. Given that there are more species involved, the story may be even more complicated in blue-rings.

    Roy

    But don't get over confident handling these guys. Most probably contain a lethal dose of TTX and even handling a dead one can give you a buzz (which I have personally experienced.)

    Roy
     
  13. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Oh no Roy ! Now, instead of licking toads...
     
  14. Reptiboy

    Reptiboy Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    ooh i dont plan on ever ever handling a blue ring, my lfs gets them in evry once inn awhile but i keep a good 3ft away from the glass. if i planned on dying an early death i would go jump in a pond
     
  15. Reptiboy

    Reptiboy Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    okk i have done plenty of research and my report is almost done, almost done. i still need to know the other name of the toxin aside from TTX, its the one for killing prey
     
  16. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    um, Jean and I mentioned a few other names (maculotoxin and tetrodotoxin, which is what TTX is short for)-- it's often called "venom" rather than "toxin" or "poison," at least by the pedantic, because "venom" is something that's made by the animal (or in this case, the symbiotic bacteria) to be actively injected by stinging or biting.

    As Roy and Jean mentioned, there is other stuff besides TTX in blue ring venom, but most of it doesn't do much to humans. Most other cephs have a venom that's harmless to human but very effective on crabs called cephalotoxin (see here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v183/n4669/abs/1831192b0.html for example) and I just noticed from searching on that that there's apparently another variant in the Eledone genus called eledosin or eledoisin -- I'm not sure which is the correct spelling. I don't know if blue rings lack cephalotoxin completely; it wasn't in Jean's list, but sometimes the names of these sorts of things aren't consistent.
     
  17. Reptiboy

    Reptiboy Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    thnx monty, i much appreciate it, and now w/ explaining that my report is done:tongue:
     
  18. Reptiboy

    Reptiboy Cuttlefish Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    yes! my report went off w/o a hitch! thnx to evry1 that so much as even glanced at this, ur knowledge was not in vain
     
  19. Cairnos

    Cairnos O. vulgaris Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Natures fun trick of "Well that species is insanely poisonous, so if I look just like it I don't have to bother with being poisonous myself" eh?
     
  20. 91lxstang

    91lxstang GPO Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    i know all about tetradotoxin.... Chuck Norris pours it on his wheaties for breakfast
     

Share This Page