Lake Ohrid trouts
Lake Ohrid is Europe's oldest lake and is believed
to have been formed as early as during the Tertiary
period at least 4 million years ago. Presently, there
are two well described salmonid species in the lake,
the Lake Ohrid brown trout Salmo letnica
(Karaman) and the Belvica Salmo orhidanus.
For Lake Ohrid brown trout, there have been up to
four intralacustrine forms described, but presently,
we have not succeeded in defining these forms from
a genetic perspective. Lake Ohrid brown trout have
clearly arisen from within the brown trout species
complex, and so their taxonomic status as a distinct
species is controversial. Our data do show that they
have been isolated from all other brown trout
populations for a long time.
The Belvica has a long taxonomic history,
as it has been previously characterized as belonging
to its own genus (Salmothymus or Acantholingua).
Several genetic investigations
(e.g., Phillips et. al., 2000;
Sušnik et al., 2005)
have shown that Belvica are a clear member of the genus
Salmo, and are most closely related to the softmouth trout.
Both Belvica and Lake Ohrid brown trout
have been heavily fished commercially, and there
is great concern about their conservation status.
Phillips, R.B., Matsuoka M.P., Konon I., Reed, K.M. 2000. Copeia 2, 546-550
Sušnik, S., Knizhin, I., Snoj, A., Weiss, S. 2005. J. Fish Biol.,
68, supl. A, 2-23.