A large shellfish reef found on the west coast of Britain could be the biggest of its kind ever discovered.
More than 100 million brightly coloured and rare shellfish have been found in Loch Alsh, a sea inlet between Skye and the Scottish mainland.
The reef of flame shells, or Limaria hians, was found to cover an area of 4.6 square miles during a survey commissioned by Marine Scotland.
It is the largest known colony of flame shells in Britain and possibly the world, according to experts.
Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said today: "The seas around Scotland are a hotbed of biodiversity and the clean and cold waters support many fascinating and beautiful species.
"With Scottish waters covering an area around five times bigger than our landmass, it's a huge challenge to try and understand more about our diverse and precious sea life."
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