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Marine invertebrates

Scotland's extensive and varied coast and sea support a staggering array of invertebrates and their habitats, including commercially exploited species such as crabs, lobsters, scallops, cockles and langoustine. Follow the links below to learn about just a few of our many special marine invertebrates.

Tube anemones. İSue Scott/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

Tube anemones

Find out about the huge fireworks anemone and a Scottish speciality only found in a few places on the west coast.

Northern Seafans(Swiftia pallida)  İPaul Kay/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/ İPaul Kay Marine Images

Northern Seafan

You don't need to visit the tropics to see sea fans. The elegant northern seafan thrives off our west coast.

Northern featherstar (Leptometra celtica).  İSNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

Northern feather star

The northern feather star is normally a deep water species but western Scotland is unique in having shallow water examples in depths of around 20m.

Crayfish.   İSue Scott/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

European spiny lobster

European spiny lobster fisheries provide small but locally important industries, but populations of this beautiful animal have declined considerably since the 1970s.

Fan mussel  İSue Scott/SNH.For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

Fan mussel

The fan mussel is our largest British seashell, with the paired valves reaching an impressive 30cm long.

Horse mussel. İSue Scott/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

Horsemussel beds

Horse mussels form beds and reefs which stabilise mobile seabeds, creating a home for many other creatures, and good feeding grounds for young fish.

Flame shell (Limaria hians). İSue Scott/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

Flame shell beds

Flame shells are beautiful bivalve molluscs about 4cm long, with a spectacular fringe of orange tentacles.

Coldwater coral - lophelia orange İRohan Holt/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

Cold water coral

Coral reefs are not just confined to the tropics - we have our own here in Scotland!

Serpulid worm in Loch Creran. İSue Scott/SNH.  For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

Serpulid reefs

In a few special places, hundreds of serpulid tubeworms grow together forming bush like structures or 'reefs'.

Native oyster İDavid Donnan/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk/copyright/

Native oyster

Information about the native oyster



Last updated on Monday 8th June 2015 at 11:41 AM. Click here to comment on this page