As summer was nearly ending, our team used the last opportunity to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina before autumn high waters. Altogether five of us, four SubBioLab members and HBSD’s Branko Jalžić, visited the project area in the Trebišnjica River basin. The goals remained no less ambitious than in March 2021 – to sample as many caves and springs as possible.
Upon our arrival, we were again warmly greeted by Nikša Vuletić, from JP Vjetrenica, who kindly offered their premises for our accommodation. Finally, we had the opportunity to explore deeper parts of Vjetrenica, which were not accessible in our spring excursion.
The time period, when the waters are still just low enough for thorough sampling, overlapped with the possibility to meet with Brian Lewarne from the Proteus Project and with a biologist and a cave diver, Gergely Balazs. We met immediately upon our arrival to the region, after visiting the cave Plitica. In a late night discussion we talked about new localities to sample, and in the end, agreed to organize a joint field excursion with the Hungarian team during our stay in the region. Indeed, we jointly visited Mora cave a few days later.
In the second part of our trip, we moved towards the north of the project area, near Nevesinje and Gacko. It is a less explored area, so from the caving point of view, we did not know it well. The caves we visited were either not previously sampled, or there was not much known about them at all. But, we had a great opportunity to meet Radenka Djurasovic, high school biology teacher interested in cave fauna. During the last days, the water levels went higher due to heavy rains, so there was only one solution – to leave Eastern Hercegovina for the next time and head home.
During the week from 3rd to 11th October, we sampled 14 caves and 3 springs. Some of the caves, which were flooded during our spring visit, were easily accessible this time, and could be sampled for subterranean species. Moreover, our work resulted in incredible findings in some of the caves, where we found beetle species that were not sampled for decades, and also collected a mystical and elusive aquatic isopod – Monolistra matjasici.
Travunia vjetrenicae, a small and fearsome opilionid predator, described from Vjetrenica. Reaching up to 4 cm, the specimens of Typhlogammarus mrazeki are by far the stoutest among the subterranean amphipods in the Dinarides.
For more impressions of the fieldwork go to Gallery.