Impurest's Guide to Animals #33 - Olm

  • 67 results
  • 1
  • 2
Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

Edited By ImpurestCheese

Reclaimed from the Recycle Bin, that’s what Issue #33 of this guide is about. Last week the beautiful, if a bit sinister Sea Swallow was in the spotlight before being thrown at some young Australian. This week a pale skinned, skinny waif of a thing boldly stumbles into the daylight from its underground home. Hope you enjoy.

_____________________________________________________________________

Issue #33 Olm

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Chordata

Class – Amphibia

Order – Caudata

Family – Proteidae

Genus – Proteus

Species – anguinus

Related Species - The genus Proteus is one (of two) found in the family Proteidae, the other is the genus Necturus which contains the five species of Mudpuppy (1)

Range

Caves marked in red are areas where the Olm has been introduced for study [2]
Caves marked in red are areas where the Olm has been introduced for study [2]

A Baby Cave Dragon

The Olm is a pale, almost translucent, skinned cave salamander whose eel like body grows to a length of 40cm. Unusually the Olm stays in a neonatal or tadpole like stage, retaining juvenile features such as exposed gills and a lateral line. Olms have feathery red gills that are used in respiration alongside rudimentary lungs, although the majority of gas exchange takes place in water. While the Olm has eyes, they are covered by the skin and can only detect changes in light level. For navigation the species relies of its sense of smell, vibrations in the water and faint electrical currents in the water (2).

[3]
[3]

Like all amphibians the Olm is a carnivore, with insects and small crustaceans it’s preferred prey. Due to its slow metabolism however, the Olm rarely has to eat, with individuals going up to six years without food. While it has no predators within the caves it lives in, when flushed out by flash floods the Olm is fed upon by a wide range of animals including toads, water snakes, herons and large fish.

Olms are solitary throughout their entire lives except when they come together to breed. Fertilisation is assumed to be internal with eggs later being laid under stones on the cave floor. Juvenile Olms are similar to the adults save for functioning eyes and no legs, both features they gain at an age of four months. Despite being adults, the young Olms won’t be ready to breed until they are at least 14 years old due to the species slow metabolism, with an average lifespan of over 65 years.

Five Fun Olm Facts

The Genus Proteus is ancient with remains of Olm like animals dating back at least 30 million years

As recently as the 1600s, local people used to believe that Olms washed out of caves by flash floods were baby dragons

Even famed naturalist Charles Darwin had time to marvel at the Olms oddness. In his book the Origin of Species he describes the salamander thusly, “Far from feeling surprise that some of the cave-animals should be very anomalous...as is the case with blind Proteus with reference to the reptiles of Europe, I am only surprised that more wrecks of ancient life have not been preserved, owing to the less severe competition to which the scanty inhabitants of these dark abodes will have been exposed.” (3)

Very recently a race of dark skinned Olms, descendents of salamanders washed to the cave mouths perhaps, have appeared. These ‘Black Proteus’ have dark skin, working eyes and reduced limbs as adaptations to life in the light. (4)

Dark Proteus - Note the differences in the legs and head [4]
Dark Proteus - Note the differences in the legs and head [4]

The Olm is considered the poster species of cave biology and after 300 years of research still attracts much excitement from scientists. In Slovenia in particular, the species is popular with Proteus appearing on the 10 tolar coin and lending its name to the countries leading popular science magazine

Bibliography

1 - www.arkive.org

2 - Schegel P. & Bulog B. (1997). Population-specific behavioral electrosensitivity of the European blind cave salamander, Proteus anguinus. Journal of Physiology (Paris)91: 75–79

3 - Darwin C. (1859). On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.

4 - Sket B. & Arntzen J.W. (1994). A black, non-troglomorphic amphibian from the karst of Slovenia: Proteus anguinus parkelj n. ssp (Urodela: Proteidae). Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde 64:33–53.

Picture References

1 - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Proteus_anguinus_Postojnska_Jama_Slovenija.jpg

2 - http://www.showcaves.com/maps/Big/Proteus.png

3 - http://whitleyaward.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Jana-Species_Proteus.jpg

4 - http://img.xcitefun.net/users/2011/03/233461,xcitefun-human-fish-1.jpg

And with that we bid adieu to the oddity known at the Olm as it slithers out of the spotlight. Next week we head to a ‘big island’ to look at a ‘small lizard’ who strikes fear into the locals. Until then comment, critique and check out the Bestiary of Past Issues.

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

#2  Edited By ImpurestCheese
Avatar image for cbishop
cbishop

16876

Forum Posts

361212

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 75

User Lists: 1092

#3  Edited By cbishop

@impurestcheese: Sounds like a name for something in Lord of the Rings. Especially with the dark Olms around too.

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@cbishop: The name Olm comes from a German word whose meaning is now lost to modern man. The Slovenians used to call it 'mocrili' or the one who lives in a wet burrow. Go figure

Avatar image for deactivated-5c901e667a76c
deactivated-5c901e667a76c

36557

Forum Posts

10681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

It's like a thinner, longer axolotl.

Avatar image for deactivated-5ee15da0e0aad
deactivated-5ee15da0e0aad

8219

Forum Posts

240

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Looks freaky ^_^

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@scorpion2501: That's because it is

@xwraith: The Axolotl owes the Olm royalties for stealing it's design

Avatar image for laflux
laflux

25213

Forum Posts

2367

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

Avatar image for starwatcher
StarWatcher

540

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Hahahaha cool! Looks like the axolotl and that weird dick fish had a kid.

Avatar image for knightsofdarkness2
Knightsofdarkness2

8155

Forum Posts

228

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

It looks like an awesome animal! It reminds a lot about axolotls.

Avatar image for ostyo
Ostyo

14103

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@starwatcher: Whay fish is thay? Not the candiru surely

@laflux: A good workman never blames his tools

@ostyo: @knightsofdarkness2: Not really Axolotl has eyes and grows into a boring looking salamander. Also Olms are not albino like Axolotls

Avatar image for laflux
laflux

25213

Forum Posts

2367

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

Avatar image for ostyo
Ostyo

14103

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

@impurestcheese: Okay, I'm gonna pretend you didn't just insult the adorable Axolotl. So are the two not actually related?

Avatar image for starwatcher
StarWatcher

540

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#15  Edited By StarWatcher
Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@starwatcher: Ah hagfish. I thought you meant the fish that swims up men's penis

@ostyo: Nope not closely related at all. Both will stay in a neonatal state but with the right environmental pressure Axolotls can be forced to become terrestrial adult salamanders

@laflux: My other tool is a chainsaw

Avatar image for laflux
laflux

25213

Forum Posts

2367

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

@starwatcher: Ah hagfish. I thought you meant the fish that swims up men's penis

@ostyo: Nope not closely related at all. Both will stay in a neonatal state but with the right environmental pressure Axolotls can be forced to become terrestrial adult salamanders

@laflux: My other tool is a chainsaw

*Backs away slowly*

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@laflux: Oh please I would never use it on a person, it's too cumbersome and loud

Avatar image for darth_necray
Darth_Necray

509

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@impurestcheese: yes I did. Thank you for carrying the torch to make CV a community

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@darth_necray: Wondered how many things you'd been invited to so took a leap. What do you think of this weeks (early) Issue? And do you want to be placed on the usual callout list?

Avatar image for cgoodness
Cream_God

15519

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

ewwww

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@cgoodness: Leave the Olms alone...

Last year while on holiday in Slovenia I got to see one of these in the wild. So eerie and cool at the same time

Avatar image for cgoodness
Cream_God

15519

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

@impurestcheese: they look like fetuses :/ and how the heck do you travel so much? lol

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@cgoodness: Uh I work hard, pay my taxes and then use the rest to travel. To be fair I'm good at what I do and get rewarded handsomely for it

Avatar image for straight-fire
Straight-Fire

28188

Forum Posts

6545

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

Ah. Interesting. Very, very interesting...

These things give me the creeps though.

: P

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@dboyrules2011: Am I the only person who finds the Olm kind of cute

(Then again I once spent thirty minutes photographing a vulture instead of the Golden Eagle next to it - people thought I was weird)

Avatar image for straight-fire
Straight-Fire

28188

Forum Posts

6545

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

@impurestcheese: I think they're kinda cute as well, just gives me the creeps for some reason. :-P

*giggles*

Okay... I had to laugh at that.

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

#28  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@dboyrules2011: It's because they are squishy

Also @ostyo here is what an adult Axolotl looks like...

Most aren't Pink but Grey
Most aren't Pink but Grey

Avatar image for straight-fire
Straight-Fire

28188

Forum Posts

6545

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

#30  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@dboyrules2011: Or maybe because the Olms are planning something draconic and sinister

They have already been pulling the strings of the Slovenian Government since 1922
They have already been pulling the strings of the Slovenian Government since 1922

Avatar image for straight-fire
Straight-Fire

28188

Forum Posts

6545

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@dboyrules2011: They were the first animal to be protected by law in the country and have caused arguments over their protection ever since

Avatar image for straight-fire
Straight-Fire

28188

Forum Posts

6545

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

#33  Edited By Straight-Fire
Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

Avatar image for straight-fire
Straight-Fire

28188

Forum Posts

6545

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

Avatar image for straight-fire
Straight-Fire

28188

Forum Posts

6545

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

Avatar image for wildvine
wildvine

15203

Forum Posts

2609

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 50

#39  Edited By wildvine

Been about five years, starting to feel a little peckish. Might make a sandwich in six or seven months.

Avatar image for straight-fire
Straight-Fire

28188

Forum Posts

6545

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@wildvine: I knew it, I knew you were an adorable cave dwelling, Darwin trolling, only occasional toe nibbling salamander mastermind bending the Slovenian parliament to her will

Avatar image for wildvine
wildvine

15203

Forum Posts

2609

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 50

@dboyrules2011:

Nope. But i did put one in your hair.

I knew it, I knew you were an adorable cave dwelling, Darwin trolling, only occasional toe nibbling salamander mastermind bending the Slovenian parliament to her will

Technically I've never denied that. ; P

Avatar image for ostyo
Ostyo

14103

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

@impurestcheese: Ah, neat. I've never seen them in their "land" form before. People seem to be against forcing into it because of the stress it causes on the animal.

Avatar image for joshuadbr
JoshuaDBr

631

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Great article. This animal isn't super crazy weird, yet it's still very interesting. Years without food though? Man, if only pets needed to be fed just every few years!

Avatar image for cattlebattle
cattlebattle

19492

Forum Posts

313

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Su cute.

Im unna call'em Wally

Avatar image for samimista
Samimista

22297

Forum Posts

6731

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 17

Wicked! It reminds me of a Pokemon. O___O

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@cattlebattle: Then Wally it will be

@joshuadbr: If you can smuggle one out of Slovenia you can keep one as a pet. Of course the entire Slovenian government will come huntong you if thry find out...

@samimista: But the Olm is 29 million years older then Pokemon

@ostyo: Yeah it is horribly cruel when forced

@wildvine: No you didn't

Avatar image for ostyo
Ostyo

14103

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

@impurestcheese: Axolotl and Olm should start their own crime fighting team of odd amphibians.

Avatar image for impurestcheese
ImpurestCheese

12542

Forum Posts

2824

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

@ostyo: Now you need to write it on the fan-fic board

Avatar image for wolverine008
Wolverine008

51027

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

Sweet job Impurest :)