Nature Ramble

Been absent the last couple of weeks, blame it on the silly season.

This week it’s a swim rather than a ramble, so get your togs on we’re off to the sea around the Isle of Skye in Scotland to look at a shellfish that I have never heard of before.

Flame shell reef off Scotland could be world’s biggest

Experts believe the colony of Limaria hians in Loch Alsh, a sea inlet between Skye and mainland, is the largest of its kind

Flame shells group together on the sea bed and their nests create a living reef to support hundreds of other species. Photograph: Marine Scotland/PA

The discovery of a large shellfish reef on the west coast of the UK could be the biggest find of its kind in the world, experts believe.

The reef, made up of more than 100 million brightly coloured and rare flame shells, or Limaria hians, was found in Loch Alsh, a sea inlet between Skye and the Scottish mainland. It covers an area of 4.6 sq miles (7.5 sq km) and was discovered during a survey commissioned by Marine Scotland. It is the largest known colony of flame shells in the UK and possibly the world, say experts.

The Scottish environment secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: “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.

“This important discovery may be the largest grouping of flame shells anywhere in the world.

“And not only are flame shells beautiful to look at, these enigmatic shellfish form a reef that offers a safe and productive environment for many other species.”

Flame shells have a similar shape to scallops, with many neon orange tentacles that appear between the two shells. They group together on the sea bed and their nests create a living reef to support hundreds of other species.

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I love the last sentence…

“Who needs space travel when we’ve still to fully explore and understand the oceans and seas here on planet Earth?”

Doesn’t that say so much?

These Flame Shells (Limaria hians) from Scotland and parts of the English coastline should not be confused with the Flame Scallop (Lima scabra) from the Caribbean, also a stunning looking species.

Flame Scallop (Lima scabra)

A small look at the wonderful world of nature.




6 responses to this post.

  1. I never understood why people felt the need to go into space when there is so much right here under our feet to explore. Love the pictures they are beautiful.



    • >lsf, man’s affinity with space is understandable if you consider that we’re not from this planet. That’s why they can’t find the missing link…. there isn’t one. So where did we come from? That’s the big question. But you are so right about having so much to explore right here.




      • I love that you believe we came from somewhere else, it’s a constant conversation in my family, and theme of much of our reading, trying to find the answer to where we came from.

        Your post hit a note with me because I was raised in a very strict religious family who believed we are here only to live a certain way to return to heaven. That never made sense to me, I figured even if there was a heaven we were here to learn everything we could about living now and learning what we can from life. I don’t want to live my life for a future time, I want to live it in the present.


      • >lsf, I believe you’re right, the present. I have always agreed with a quote that was attributed to Hunter S. Thompson “To arrive in heaven with a well preserved body, rather slide in sideways with Chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other shouting thanks for the ride!” Or words to that effect. I have since read that he did not in fact say it.

        I believe our fascination with space is genetically ingrained. I am always reminded of the scene in the film ET “Phone home!” I believe that that is what we are doing.

        I shucked the shackles of religion at the age of 12 and began to think for myself.



  2. Posted by Alex Jones on December 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    It is hard to imagine such a beautiful creature living in the cold waters off Scotland. Noting its location I can see why for its in the path of the Gulf Stream.



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