Balkan area is known worldwide for its natural resources. In this region there are many endemic species of flora and fauna. One of the most interesting representatives of endemic species is definitely an organism that lives in dark caves. Scientists from around the world come to study the life and habits of this organism that can only be found in the caves of the several Balkan states. Proteus Anguinus is the Latin name for this endemic amphibian. A very interesting fact is that he is the only representative of the genus Proteus.
The body is elongated, gently. Adults have external gills. Colorless (lacking pigment), yellowish or reddish, the color depends on the surface capillaries. Were found in some specimens with dark pigment, which points to the fact that they are very rare pigmented specimens come in contact with the sun, probably for the heavy rains that have washed them from underground to the surface. The average size is about 10 inches, the specimens were recorded up to 16 inches in length. This organism usually does not come to the surface but it is also proved that sometimes come to the surface itself, perhaps to feed some tiny insects. Proteus breathes in three ways. Across the gills located just behind the head, then through the skin and through the lungs, and it is interesting that the three modes propagated – laying eggs, giving birth to of live offspring or through the larvae.
They are one of the few species in nature that they have no natural predators.
He lives in underground waters of the Dinaric karst relief of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Prefers calm waters rich with oxygen and low temperatures that varies from 6 to 12°C. In several scientific publications stated that the “closest cousin” of this organism lives in America and has a pigment and eyes.
Proteus anguinus is protected by the Berne Convention (Appendix II, a strictly protected species) and the European Directive on the protection of habitats and species (Annex II, IV).