Regular rock-poolers are likely to come across Mermaid’s purses containing the eggs or young of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish lying amongst the debris on the tide line. These egg capsules have been dislodged after being laid by the adult female dogfish are doomed to perish. Some, if not most, of these capsules are empty.
Image – Carol’s Cornwall
With over 600 species of skate and ray worldwide, at least 16 species have been regularly recorded in UK coastal waters; most of these species reproduce by laying tough leathery egg cases on the seabed. Of more than 30 species of British sharks only two species lay egg cases that are commonly found on our beaches; the Small Spotted Cat Shark and the Nurse Hound.