Rare Salamander Didn't Move For More Than Seven Years, Study Finds
The pace of modern life is widely regarded as a key reason why a lot of us can feel quite stressed out from time to time.
So perhaps we should all consider taking a leaf out of the Olm's book.
The mysterious cave-dwelling species of salamander barely ever does anything, but one individual in particular has reached new heights in the inactivity stakes.
A long-term capture study of an aquatic cave system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, published in the Journal of Zoology, found one of the little fellas didn't move at all for 2,569 days.
A section of the study reads: "The observed individuals were typically in the open, and even if some individuals were within metres of each other, they showed no other sign of grouping behaviour. In these caves, at least when diving is possible, currents seemingly cause no problem for P. anguinus and the lack of predation makes hiding pointless.
"On the other hand, the movement patterns revealed by the present study strengthen the previous observations that these animals are frequently associated with certain locations they know well.
"The surprisingly low movement activity revealed by recaptures adds another facet to the extreme lifestyle of the species. Out of 37 recaptures in the extended dataset, only 10 represented a longer than 10m and only three longer than 20m movement, with always more than 100 days having elapsed between sightings. One individual was found at the same location after 2,569 days."
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Whether this way of living sounds like paradise or purgatory probably says a lot about you, but the fact of the matter is we simply can't live like this. By contrast, the olm is in the privileged position of being highly resistant to starvation and having no predators.
As such, the only thing that ever compels them to shift is the urge to reproduce. That said, they only mate every 12.5 years on average, so it can hardly be that strong an urge.
Indeed, the species only move an average of less than 10 metres every decade.
Speculating as to why the creatures spend their long lives doing almost nothing, the study concludes: "We cannot present any strong argument about the benefits of being sedentary or the costs/risks of moving over larger areas in the studied environment, especially considering the lack of predators and interspecific competitors.
"We can only speculate that animals feeding on a very low food supply (and as consequence, resistant to starvation), reproducing sporadically (females reproducing on average once in 12.5 years) and living for a century are very energy cautious and limit their movements to the minimum."
So next time your told to get off the sofa and wash the dishes, tell your other half you're adopting the 'energy cautious' lifestyle of the olm - and therefore they should probably do the dishes.
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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