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Arch Dermatol. 2011 Aug;147(8):963-6. doi: 10.1001/archdermatol.2011.83. Epub 2011 Apr 11.

Pseudomonas oryzihabitans cutaneous ulceration from Octopus vulgaris bite: a case report and review of the literature.

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Dermatology Munich-Harlaching, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany.



Octopus vulgaris is a common marine animal that can be found in nearly all tropical and semitropical waters around the world. It is a peaceful sea dweller with a parrotlike beak, and its primary defense is to hide through camouflaging adjustments. Bites from animals of the class Cephalopoda are very rare. We describe a boy who was bitten on his forearm by an Octopus vulgaris.


A 9 -year-old boy was bitten by an Octopus vulgaris while snorkeling. There was no strong bleeding or systemic symptoms; however, 2 days later, a cherry-sized, black, ulcerous lesion developed, surrounded by a red circle that did not heal over months and therefore had to be excised. Histologic examination showed ulceration with extensive necrosis of the dermis and the epidermis. A microbial smear revealed Pseudomonas (formerly known as Flavimonas) oryzihabitans. After excision, the wound healed within 2 weeks, without any complications or signs of infection.


To the best of our knowledge, this case represents the first report of an Octopus vulgaris bite resulting in an ulcerative lesion with slow wound healing owing to P oryzihabitans infection. We recommend greater vigilance regarding bacterial contamination when treating skin lesions caused by marine animals.

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