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Man served deadly blue-ringed octopus at restaurant in China

The Independent logo The Independent 24/01/2023 Sravasti Dasgupta
blue ring octopus © Getty Images blue ring octopus

A deadly blue-ringed was found on a man’s plate at a restaurant in China.

The man narrowly stopped short of eating it after he posted the photo online and a science blogger pointed out the toxic animal.

In the photo posted on Chinese social media Weibo, the man asked: “Can I eat it? I am waiting for your reply. A bit anxious.”

The photo he shared last week showed several small octopuses served on a flat basket full of crushed ice, reported the South China Morning Post.

Bo Wu Za Zhi, a science blogger, saw the picture and responded a few minutes later.

“It is a leopard-striped octopus or blue-ringed octopus. Its toxicity is very strong and won’t be neutralised when heated,” he said.

“We’ve seen cases where blue-ringed octopuses are, on rare occasions, accidentally mixed in with ordinary octopuses sold at markets, although the possibility of this happening is very low.”

The man later responded to concerned social media users that he had sent the plate back.

“I haven’t eaten it. It has been taken away from the table,” he wrote.

The marine animal gets its name from the bright blue rings that appear when it is threatened. Its venom contains tetrodotoxin, a powerful nerve toxin, which can cause respiratory failure in humans and lead to paralysis or even death.

On Wednesday another Weibo user from Shenzhen, southern Guangdong Province, claimed to have bought a “blue-ringed octopus” along with octopus products at a Sam’s Club in Futian, according to Chinese portal

The Shenzhen market watchdog said on Sunday that it had checked all supermarkets and their suppliers in the city and did not find any blue-ringed octopus.

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“Blue-ringed octopus may be caught by fishermen by mistake, but its pattern is easily recognizable,” Professor Zheng Xiaodong of the Ocean University of China was quoted as saying to Beijing News.

“They are scarce and not easy to catch.”

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