A rare salamander that is native to Bosnia and Herzegovina stayed completely still for seven whole years.
Between 2010 and 2018, researchers made a number of dives to an underwater cave in a system in Eastern Herzegovinian.
In the dives, the researchers tracked 19 salamanders.
Dr. Gergely Balázs from the Eötvös Loránd University, the lead of the study, tagged each salamander with harmless ink and examined how far they moved in 8 years.
But the results were different.
The researchers found out that the salamanders didn’t move that much in 8 years.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Zoology, most olms were found to have moved less than 33 feet during the span of 8 years.
The authors of the study wrote in the study: “Aquatic cave ecosystems are important for evolutionary ecologists as an overlooked model system and for conservation biologists as a vulnerable and unique habitat, but we also need to improve our understanding of how these unique ecosystems perform ecological services that benefit ecosystems beyond cave systems, including human access to freshwater.”
What blew their minds was that one unnamed olm didn’t even bother to move a single centimeter for 7 full years.
If it was a human, we would have traveled a lot.
Talking about the olms, Dr. Gergely Balázs said, “They are hanging around, doing almost nothing.”
Dr. Gergely Balázs added, “The low reproductive activity of the species together with the reported extreme site fidelity makes this top predator of aquatic cave communities highly vulnerable and a sensitive bio‐indicator of habitat‐changing human activities.”
Researchers said the creatures do this to conserve energy.
Olms do not move a lot, but their life expectancy is around 70 to 100 years.
The team said studying the creatures will help them track human impacts on aquatic cave ecosystems.
The researchers said they used a “capture-mark-recapture” technique to keep tabs on the individual animals’ movements over the span of 8 years.
In the caves, the salamanders feed on small crustaceans such as small shrimps, snails, and sometimes insects.