The Distribution of Astacidae (Decapoda) Fauna in Kosovo and Metohija, Serbia

Nebojša V. Živić1, Ana Atanacković2, Slaviša Milošević1, Maja Milosavljević1



1 University of Priština/ Kosovska Mitrovica, Faculty of Science and Mathematics, Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

2 Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, University of Belgrade




Extensive regulatory monitoring programs have been conducted in Europe aiming at the protection and risk assessment of crayfish. In this sense, the paper presents data on the distribution of crayfish in Kosovo and Metohija. We analyzed data from the period between 1992-2012. Two of the four species reported for the Republic of Serbia were found in Kosovo and Metohija: Austropotamobius astacus and Astacus torrentium. A total of 33 sites were investigated that have swept all three sea watersheds: the Adriatic, Aegean and Black Sea. The species A. astacus prefers lowland water. The species A. torrentium inhabits mountainous ecosystems with water of oligo- to beta- mezosaprobic level of water quality. The site altitude of distribution of the A. torrentium species was at over 700m. Lowland parts of the investigated rivers were populated with individuals of A.astacus.

Keywords: Crayfish, distribution, Kosovo and Metohija, Serbia.



Many studies were carried out on the distribution of the species of the family Astacidae in Europe (Holdich, 2002a) and other parts of the world (Brodsky, 1977; Starobogatov, 1995). Studies of freshwater crayfish have given good results in various explored approaches: commercial (Skurdal & Taugbøl, 2002), economic (Laurent, 1988) and morphological (Holdich, 2002b), evolutionary and phylogenetic (Scholtz, 2002), anatomical (Vogt, 2002), growth and reproduction (Reynolds, 2002), ecological (Nyström, 2002), taxonomic and protection of native species (Taylor, 2002), behavior (Gherardi, 2002), genetic variability (Fetzner & Crandall, 2002), physiological (McMalon, 2002), agents of diseases, parasites and commensals (Evans & Edgerton, 2002), immunological (Söderhal & Söderhal, 2002), as well as on the analysis of DNA (Huber & Shubert, 2004). The European continent is inhabited by five native freshwater crayfish species from the Astacidae family: Astacus astacus (Linnaeus, 1758), river or noble crayfish, Astacus leptodactilus Eschscholtz 1823, Danube, Turkish or swamp crayfish, Astacus pachypus Rathke 1837, Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet 1858) white-leg or coastal crab and Austropotamobius torrentium (Schrank, 1803) rocky crayfish or steam crayfish (Holdich et al., 1999).

All native species from the genus Astacus Pallas 1772 and Austropotamobius Skorikow 1908 are listed in the Red List (IUCN, 2010). In European countries, native species are differently distributed. Four native species from the family Astacidae: A. astacus, A. leptodactylus, A. torrentium and A. pallipes are characteristic for the area of ​​the Balkans (Obradović, Ј. 1984; Maguire et al., 2004 Karaman, 1976; Bedjanič, M. 2004; Simic et al., 2008; Rajkovic, 2007; Trožić-Borovac, 2011). In Serbia, the presence of three native species A. astacus, A. leptodactylus, A. torrentium is recorded, The status of the species A. astacus and A. torrentium according to IUCN criteria (IUCN, 2010), was designated as "Lower Risk / Near Threatened" ("LR / nt"), Which is lower than the international level of this species "Vulnerable" (Simić, et al., 2008). Studies of freshwater crayfish fauna in Kosovo and Metohija have so far been rare, and as a part of the environmental watercources studies (Živić, 1998). This work was undertaken with the aim to show the presence of the species from the family Astacide in Kosovo and Metohija and to contribute to the knowledge of their distribution in order to protect them in the Balkans and Europe.