The seas around a Scottish island are unusually rich in marine wildlife, experts have found.
A survey carried out by marine biologists found species of "high conservation value" around the island of Canna, off the west coast.
The Sound of Canna, a steep channel running between the islands of Canna and Rum, contain a wide variety of habitats perfect for holding different types of creatures.
An area of rare fan mussels off Canna, has been confirmed as the largest in UK waters.
The Sound of Canna will now be assessed to see if it should become a marine protected area.
Laura Clark, Scottish Natural Heritage project manager said: "Until the discovery of the fan mussels during a routine survey a couple of years ago, the Sound of Canna attracted relatively little attention from marine biologists.
"What we found when we returned to survey the area in detail surprised and excited everyone involved, particularly the extent of the fan mussel bed. It was great to find such a huge variety of marine life in such a small area."
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Scotland's seas are full of fascinating and beautiful marine life, including internationally important species.
"This survey has revealed that the waters around Canna are a hotbed for biodiversity and the discovery of very rare fan mussels is particularly significant."