A Cave-Dwelling Salamander Didn’t Move for Seven Years
By Theresa Machemer/Smithsonianmag.com
Following stories of dragons, naturalist Janez Vajkard Valvasor traveled to Vrhnika, a town now in Slovenia, in 1689. After heavy rainfall, animals resembling baby dragons were swept out of nearby caves; could this be evidence that a mama dragon was lurking inside, perhaps? Not quite. Those baby dragons were actually olm salamanders, which max out at about 12 inches long and live to be 100 years old.
Olms are a bit magical though. Lacking both pigmentation and eyesight, they are super-sensitive the feeling of light on their skin. Even more fascinating, they can sense both electric and magnetic fields. They are also pretty lazy.
According to new research published in the Journal of Zoology, one olm spent seven years without leaving its favorite spot.
“They are really good swimmers,” Eötvös Loránd University zoologist Gergely Balázs tells Science News’ Jake Buehler. Olms could “move around and try different spots to see if the neighbor is nicer, or there’s more prey… And they just don’t do it.”
Balázs and his colleagues began studying olms in the caves of eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina more than ten years ago. After several dives, the researchers began to suspect that some olms hadn’t budged. In 2010, the researchers labeled seven olms…
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.