Thousands of Mermaid Purses Wash Ashore in Sandwich

skate case 001 840 480

Mermaid Purses (Skate Egg Cases)

As Turtle Journal continued sea turtle patrols this week, Sue Wieber Nourse encountered an interesting phenomenon on Sandwich beaches just west of Sandy Neck.  Lying within the high tide wrack were thousands of mermaid purses, skate egg casings, and hundreds of natural sponges.

skate case 008 480

Thousands of Mermaid Purses Wash Ashore

While it’s not unusual to discover tens of mermaid purses scattered in the wrack, or perhaps even a hundred on a long stretch of beach, the discovery of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of skate egg cases densely mingled in the wrack is quite unusual.

skate case 003 480

Mermaid Purse (Raja sp.)

These mermaid purses are the egg cases of a skate (Raja sp.).  Sue holds one in her hands for comparative sizing.

skate case 002 480

Thousands Washed Ashore in Wrack Line

As she walked along the beach, the density of skate cases remained the same for nearly a quarter mile.  Spot checking the egg cases, she discovered none with a baby skate still inside.

Comments are closed.