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Record number of blue-ringed octopus sightings in Adelaide

Beachgoers are warned to be vigilant about a sudden surge of in blue-ringed octopus sightings at some of Adelaide’s most popular beaches.

Surf Life Saving SA has received at least five sightings of the world’s most venomous marine animal in the past three weeks.

Most sightings have been around Glenelg, Brighton and Somerton but have been spotted as far as Aldinga Beach.

Blue-ringed octopuses have been spotted at Adelaide’s Glenelg foreshore in recent weeks

Blue-ringed optopuses are relatively docile but are dangerous to humans if provoked and handled because of their deadly venom

Blue-ringed optopuses are relatively docile but are dangerous to humans if provoked and handled because of their deadly venom

‘I’ve worked here for five years and I’d never heard of them in metropolitan Adelaide,’ marketing manager Sita Bacher told the Coast City Weekly Messenger.

‘They’re very small, you’ll find them under rocks, they’re nocturnal so watch out at twilight.’ 

Somerton Surf Life Saving Club captain Brad Keighran’s patrol spotted 17 blue-ringed octopuses on one day three weeks ago.

He has never seen so many in one place in his eight years with the club.

‘It was a very low tide and we have a (naturally occurring) gutter that was exposed,’ he said.

 ‘We saw them six years ago, there were two on the beach, but I’ve never seen anything in the numbers like that before.’ 

Lifesavers on Adelaide beaches have reported a record number of blue-ringed octopus sightings in recent weeks

Lifesavers on Adelaide beaches have reported a record number of blue-ringed octopus sightings in recent weeks

There are a number of possible reasons for the sudden surge in sightings, including increases in food, temperature or habitat.

The warmer weather could also be a factor. 

Blue-ringed octopuses can be identified by their yellowish skin and characteristic blue and black rings

Blue-ringed octopuses can be identified by their yellowish skin and characteristic blue and black rings

‘They can be very responsive to changes in the environment, so that may be sudden increases in food such as crabs,’ Adelaide University marine biologist Zoe Doubleday said.

‘(Or an) increase in habitat, octopuses like dens and hard structures, so they may be going into more human structures like breakwalls or litter.’ 

Adelaide lifesavers are also reporting a higher than normal number jellyfish stings, the ABC reports.

Found in tide pools and coral reefs, blue-ringed octopuses can be identified by their yellowish skin and characteristic blue and black rings that change color dramatically when threatened.

They are relatively docile but they are dangerous to humans if provoked and handled because of their deadly venom. 



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