Travunijana djokovici is a new type of water snail named after the famous Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic.
Slovak biospeleologist Josef Grego and Montenegrin zoologist Vladimir Pesic from the University of Montenegro discovered a new snail near Podgorica in April 2019. The specimen was named in honor of Djokovic “in recognition of his inspiring enthusiasm and energy.”
“To discover the world’s rarest animals, you need to get to inaccessible habitats, you need Novak’s energy and enthusiasm,” the researchers explain.
T. djokovici has a milky white carapace in the shape of an elongated cone and is adapted to inhabit the underground habitats of the Dinaric Highlands. It is a mountain system in the northwest of the Balkan Peninsula. It stretches from north-west to south-east for 650 km through the territory of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania from the Julian Alps to the Drin River. In the north, the Dinaric Upland gradually descends to the Central Danube Lowland, and in the southwest, on the contrary, it abruptly drops off to the Adriatic Sea. In the east, the highlands are bounded by the Ibar River valley.
T. djokovici belongs to the family Hydrobiidae, they are also known as mud snails that inhabit fresh or brackish water in caves and underground habitats. This is the first representative of the genus Travunijana found in the Skadar Lake basin, and the only one outside the Trebishnitsa River basin in Herzegovina. Where they came from and how, remains a mystery.