The Distribution of Astacidae (Decapoda) Fauna in Kosovo and Metohija, Serbia - page 01

Material and Methods

Data on the distribution of crayfish species in Kosovo and Metohija originated from a number of studies carried out in the period 1992-2012. These researches implicated sites in the aquatic ecosystems of three catchments: the Adriatic, Aegean and the Black Sea. Crayfish were collected using different nets, improvised traps, as well as by hand capture. The numerous sites have been investigated, but only the sites where representatives of freshwater crayfish were found are presented in this work. During the sampling, in order to register the presence of crayfish species, a maximum of six individuals were collected, preferably both sexes of the same species. Other captured individuals were returned into their habitat. Representatives of crayfish species were found at the 33 sites tested. Determination of caught animals was performed according to the keys for the family Astacidae (Bott, 1972; Karaman, 1961, 1963; Holdich et al., 2006; Parvulescu, 2008; Zaikov, 2010). The territory of Kosovo and Metohija covers an area of ​​10,887 km2 and lies between 41°50'58" and 43°15'42" north latitude and 20°01'30" and 21°43'10" east longitude. This area has a relatively poor surface hydrographic network and its lack of water, especially during the summer. The problem of dense human population is reflected in the lack of water for drinking and hygiene needs. Water flows are burdened with wastewater of industrial and urban origin.

Results and Discussion

Distribution of river crayfish fauna has its cause-effect relationships. From their centers of origin, the Ponto-Caspian Basin, the freshwater craayfish population from the family of Astacidae is expanding their distribution area throughout Europe (Karaman, 1962, 1963). In the long process of adjustment many species have become native to certain areas. In recent years, native crayfish species are in a constant struggle for their survival. Violation of the physical and chemical characteristics of the ecosystem, intentional introduction of alien species or the appearance of invasive potential species has impact on reducing the populations of native crayfish species (Gherardi and Holdich, 1999, Taylor, 2002). Knowing the distribution of crayfish species from the family Astacide contributes to their conservation and survival. Out of the five native crayfish species that live in fresh water in Europe, three are registered in the Republic of Serbia: A. astacus, A. leptodactilus and A. torrentium. Distribution of freshwater crayfish species is poorly researched on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. A partial view of the river crayfish fauna of this area was encountered in the study of epibionts from the family Branchiobdelidae (Annelida, Oligochaeta) (Karaman, 1967), and Hydrobiological study of the Sitnica River basin (Živić, 1998). During long term research, two crayfish species were recorded: A. astacus (Linnaeus, 1758), river or noble crayfish and A. torrentium (Schrank, 1803), rocky cancer or steam cancer inhabited watercources in Kosovo and Metohija. Both species are listed in the Red List (IUCN, 2010) and their habitats in the Habitat Directive. Investigated sites mainly include the entire territory of Kosovo and Metohija. The presence of individuals of these species was recorded at 33 sites. A. torrentium was found in 14, while A. astacus was found at 19 sites (Tab. 1).