Twelve months ago, this was one of our images of 2011.
It’s a Flame Shell, a ‘cryptic’ marine species with bright orange feeding tentacles. It is found only in a a very few west coast locations. This one was photographed in 2011 [© SNH] in flame shell beds in Loch Linnhe in Argyll, during one of 15 marine surveys carried out by Scottish Natural Heritage in that year.
The surveys covered 2,000 square miles of Scotland’s seabed – a stunning achievement revealing major Flame Shell beds in Loch Fyne as well as Loch Linnhe and other locations.
Now, a year later, the Flame Shell is back in the news, with the discovery of a massive 75 hectare Flame Shell reef in Loch Alsh, estimated to contain over 100 million examples of the species.
This has come from a survey by Heriot Watt University, commissioned by Marine Scotland and will now be subject to special protection.
Note: The image above of a Flame Shell is © SNH and may not be reproduced without permission.