Have you come across one of these on your beach strolls? We found lots in the Spring and am using them for an art project. Was it because I was looking for them, or was it pure chance that on that day I went looking, we picked up around forty. I hadn’t spotted one for ages before that and didn’t expect to find anything. Thankyou beach!
The mermaids purse is actually a fish eggcase, a tough leathery case that protects the embryo of a shark, skate or ray. Each eggcase contains one embryo which will develop over several months into a miniature version of the adult. These amazing feats of nature are heavily camoflaged and incredibly resilient, hence the tough leathery shiny cases.
I have discovered there are over ten species of skate and ray, and only a few species of shark in UK waters that reproduce by laying eggcases on the seabed. Each species’ eggcase is different in shape and size. Eggcases remain safely on the seabed or in the case of dogfish attached by long curly tendrils to seaweed until the juvenile has hatched, and then the empty eggcases often get washed up on beaches and can be found amongst the seaweed on the shoreline.
Click on an image to see the name of the shark, ray, dogfish
Here is my collection. I am going to make you wait for a couple of weeks before I share with you what I have been doing with them. All in the process at the moment for the Cruel and Curious Sea Art Exhibition at the end of the month.
A great find was this website! The Great Eggcase Hunt I’m going to join up and become part of the eggcase hunt and help map numbers of shark cases found. No better excuse to be out on the beach beachcombing.