The unusual sight of thousands of starfish stranded on a Black Isle beach could have been down to a behaviour known as "starballing", experts have said.
The unusual sight was at Rosemarkie Beach in recent days.
Most are now believed to have been washed back out to sea.
Experts at Plymouth University's Marine Institute coined the starballing phrase after observing starfish changing their location last year.
Dr Emma Sheehan, a research fellow at the Marine Institute, told BBC Scotland of their initial discovery: "It was not until we were filming near Brighton and the tides were very strong.
"Suddenly we just started seeing these starfish roll up in a ball and fly along with the tide.
"This looked like a behavioural change so they could move efficiently.
"We suspect that if there is too much tide and wind it could end up in a mass stranding."