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Deadly octopus makes its debut at The Aquarium at Mote

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The blue-ringed octopus, one of the deadliest sea creatures on Earth, has joined the exhibit Survivors: Beautiful and Extreme Adaptations in The Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory.

At first, the blue-ringed octopus doesn’t look so fearsome. This golf-ball sized critter certainly has a heart — three of them to be exact. But that doesn’t mean this little Australia native goes all lovey-dovey when you brush against him on a dive. Instead, he’s more likely to flash his blue rings and take a bite — using a beak so small, you probably won’t even feel it through your wetsuit.

That’s when this little guy shows how heartless he really is. His bite is deadly — just one animal has enough venom to kill 26 adult humans.

Seeing blue-ringed octopuses displayed safely on exhibit is a rare treat for aquarium visitors. The Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory is the only public aquarium in Florida that currently holds a state-issued permit to display them. Aquariums obtain these permits to demonstrate they have adequate safety measures in place.

Survivors: Beautiful and Extreme Adaptations will remain open through Sept. 14 in The Aquarium at Mote, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota. Visiting the exhibit is free with regular admission.

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