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Shark and Skate Eggcases

Shark and Skate Eggcases

Published by Field Studies Council

Shark and Skate Eggcases features the eggcases of the 3 sharks and 10 skates reported to the Great Eggcase Hunt from around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Although sharks, skates and rays are common in the seas around these islands, you are unlikely to see them as they live in deep water. But there is another way to find out which species live off your stretch of coast

Many sharks, skates and rays reproduce by laying eggs. Since the sea is rough, each egg is protected by a tough leathery capsule: the eggcase. Once empty, the eggcases (or mermaid's purses) often wash up on the beach. The eggcases of different species vary. So by looking at the size, shape and features, we can identify which species laid it.

Use the guide's straightforward flow chart for speedy eggcase identification. Simple yes/no questions will quickly take you to the colour photographs of each eggcase. Concise labels highlight the key identification features. Accompanying text covers the distribution, status and adult description of each species.

Eggcases are large and robust, so are a great target when beach-combing. Plus unlike going rockpooling, you don't have to wait for the lowest tides. Indeed one of the best places to find them is among the strandline. Eggcases wash up on the shore throughout the year. After stormy weather is prime eggcase hunting time. There may be hundreds of different eggcases to find.

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