Scientific classification of the Olm: Proteusanguinus
Kingdom of the Olm: Animalia
Phylum of the Olm: Chordata
Class of the Olm: Amphibia
Order of the Olm: Caudata
Family of the Olm: Proteidae
Genus of the Olm: Proteus
Species of The Olm: P anguinus
The ancient lineage had an interesting species among the amphibians that has evolved over 190 years and is now popularly known as the Olm. This snake like specie is an inhabitant of caves and subterranean waters and more interestingly, is blind. The adaptation of olm over all these years has inspired several researches and studies on outstanding organ functions of the sole surviving cave living European chordate.
Pictures of Olm
Some Interesting Facts about Olm
Distribution of the Olm
These species are mostly occurring in parts of the southern Croatia, certain parts of Herzegovina and Bosnia.
Description of the Olm:
Among these species, the male and female look almost identical. They can be identified only with their size and cloacae. The males are somewhat smaller than females and have a thicker opening.
Habitat of the Olm
.Food habits Of the Olm:
These species are carnivorous by nature and mainly feed on snails, small crabs, and insects. They simply swallow the food without chewing. It can survive for long hours without food because of their ability to preserve large amount of food in the liver as glycogen and lipid.
Behavior of the Olm:
Adaptation of Olm
It is an interesting fact that Olms are blind. Their eyes are covered with a thin layer of the skin. Hence we can only imagine how difficult their lives must be. However their survival is ensured through their highly advanced sense organs that help them adapt to adverse conditions.
Reproduction of Olm
The Olms are not confined to a particular breeding period. They can mate at any time. During the breeding period, the males retaliate and fight amongst themselves in order to fortify their territories. They also produce a secretion called pheromone to attract females.
When a female enters his territory, the male tries to attract her by biting her tail with his flanks. The female also uses her snout to touch his cloacae. Once the process of mating begins, the male injects spermatophores into the cloacae of the female. This is done several times during the day.
The females usually lay 70 eggs within rocks and stones and always try to safeguard them until they hatch. The tadpoles that come out of the egg are about 2 cm long. They take 4 months to become adults but become sexually mature by 7-14 years.
Life span of Olm
Olm has an average lifespan of 58 years.
Conservation status of Olm
According to the report of IUCN, their lives are in deep trouble. Their existence is constantly threatened due to water pollution. In order to save this rare species it is desired to avoid throwing unwanted waste and toxic materials in water.
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