Animalia > Chordata > Amphibia > Caudata > Proteidae > Proteus > Proteus anguinus

Proteus anguinus (Olm)

Wikipedia Abstract

The olm or proteus (Proteus anguinus) is an aquatic salamander in the family Proteidae, the only cave-dwelling chordate species found in Europe. In contrast to most amphibians, it is entirely aquatic; it eats, sleeps, and breeds underwater.
View Wikipedia Record: Proteus anguinus

EDGE Analysis

The olm is a Europe’s only cave adapted vertebrate, and has numerous adaptations for an underground life. Olms hunt their prey in the absolute dark and have developed a powerful sensory system of smell, taste, hearing and electrosensitivity. Olms are pale and sightless, although their skin-covered eyes are still light sensitive. They are an entirely aquatic species that can survive without food for up to 10 years and live to an age of 58 or more. Part of an ancient lineage of amphibians evolving independently for 190 million years, this species is now threatened by pollution and habitat disturbance. A small subpopulation of “black olms” may be a separate species requiring additional protection.
Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 150.07
EDGE Score: 6.4
View EDGE Record: Proteus anguinus


Adult Weight [1]  17 grams
Female Maturity [1]  7 years
Male Maturity [1]  7 years
Gestation [1]  4 months 13 days
Litter Size [1]  35
Maximum Longevity [1]  58 years


Name Countries Ecozone Biome Species Report Climate Land
Dinaric Mountains mixed forests Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Yugoslavia Palearctic Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Illyrian deciduous forests Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece Palearctic Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Osrednje obmocje življenjskega prostora velikih zveri Ecological Important Area 859393 Slovenia  
Velebit Mountain National Park V   Croatia

Biodiversity Hotspots

Name Location Endemic Species Website
Mediterranean Basin Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey No

Range Map



Attributes / relations provided by 1de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06
Protected Areas provided by Le Saout, S., Hoffmann, M., Shi, Y., Hughes, A., Bernard, C., Brooks, T.M., Bertzky, B., Butchart, S.H.M., Stuart, S.N., Badman, T. & Rodrigues, A.S.L. (2013) Protected areas and effective biodiversity conservation. Science, 342, 803–805
Biodiversity Hotspots provided by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
Images provided by Wikimedia Commons licensed under a Creative Commons License
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access