Guide to SKOPJE

The mysterious resident of Lake Ohrid – The freshwater crab

Yes, you should not wonder about it. This is a less known fact, but despite the famous endemic species of fish, the Lake Ohrid is a natural environment for two crab species that until recently were not so familiar for the public. Twenty five years ago these ancient inhabitants of the lake were on the brink of extinction, because of the the plague that raged in all the freshwaters throughout Europe.

The professional divers from Ohrid say that a few years ago it was really rare to see  the crabs in the lake, but now the situation is much better. The most common is the European freshwater crab Astakus astakus, which can be found everywhere in the lake. This crab prefers a soft bottom with a little sand. He digs tunnels at the bottom and mostly his entrance is under a stone or a rock. It get  out and it feeds at night.


Less known is the Potamon fluviatile or the so-called crooked crab. It is often found beside the rocky part and in the rocky areas on small depths. In the Lake Ohrid the  freshwater crooked cancer is usually seen in the Struga area on the Macedonian side, while on the Albanian side of the lake there are larger colonies.

In the past, the freshwater crab from the lake was used for preparing delicious specialties. Today it is an endangered specie protected by the law and must not be catched for commercial purposes.

Both of the autochthonous crabs living in Lake Ohrid, were recently presented at the central square in Ohrid. They were a real attraction for the passersby and the tourists who had an opportunity to have a closer look and get familiarwith the freshwater crab, since many people didn’t  know that it lives in the largest Macedonian lake.

Goran Momiroski