Rare microscopic creatures have been found in caves within the Scottish Highlands.
Researchers discovered the tiny crustaceans, named ostracods, within the well-known Smoo Cave in Sutherland and Allt nan Uamh Stream Cave in Assynt.
The discovery of the creatures is a results of six years of labor and is regarded as a primary for Scotland.
The ostracods measure at round one millimetre in dimension and have been discovered residing in swimming pools contained in the caves.
According to a examine revealed within the Cave and Karst Science journal, the crustaceans have been discovered on account of a preliminary expedition sampling 32 caves throughout Scotland since 2015.
Scientists Lee Knight and Dominika Wroblewska made the invention final 12 months.
Dr Knight informed the BBC: “Styglobitic creatures live entirely below the earth’s surface and preliminary findings show that one particular ostracod could be the first recorded in Scotland.
“The specimens have been tentatively identified as Fabaeformiscandona latens from Allt nan Uamh Stream Cave and Smoo Cave, these are of importance because records of this genus are very rare in Britain.”
The caves through which the creatures have been discovered are fashionable locations in Scotland, with Allt nan Uamh – also referred to as the ‘Bone Caves’ – well-known for its caving networks and Smoo Cave identified for its supernatural histories and alleged use by smugglers.
Smoo Cave is also referred to as the positioning the place famed highwayman, Donald McMurdo, is claimed to have murdered his victims and disposed of their our bodies by throwing them into the caves blowhole.