A new study has said that a 'faceless and brainless' fish has been recorded in Scotland for the first time. This species can be considered as a modern representative of the first animals that evolved a backbone.
The government-backed surveys this year covered around 2,200 square miles and the Scottish government has hailed the finds.
AdvertisementWWF Scotland said the results highlighted the need to better protect the marine environment, the BBC reported.
The organisations that carried out the work, including Scottish Natural Heritage and Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University, shot underwater video and used acoustic and 3D images for the surveys.
Off the west coast, fan mussels were found. Growing to up to 48cm long, the mussels are Scotland's largest seashells.
Around the Small Isles over 100 specimens of marine life were noted.
Off Tankerness on Orkney, the government said that the prehistoric 'faceless and brainless' amphioxus fish was recorded.
With a nerve chord down its back, the fish does not have a distinctive face or brain.
Other finds included flame shell beds in Loch Linnhe in Argyll and new communities of northern feather star off the Sound of Canna.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead regarded the finds as 'weird and wonderful'.
"The waters around Scotland are rich in such fascinating biodiversity and it's our responsibility to protect this fragile environment," he said.
"That's why we have ramped up our marine survey work, with plans being prepared for new surveys in 2012 to further our knowledge of what lies beneath Scotland's seas," he added.