Mermaid Purses

Beachcombing along the shoreline is exciting. You never know what you might find.

If you are lucky enough you might find a real treasure – a mermaid’s purse hiding among the seaweed.

It is a bit mind-boggling to imagine that a shark or skate might have emerged from the egg case. The little pouches are created to protect and help the baby creature to develop.

Sharks can give birth to live young but they can also either lay eggs or keep the egg case in their body where it hatches – ovoviviparity. Sharks lay egg cases that vary in shape, size and colours. You can go to Shark Trust and download an app to help you with identifying an egg case. You can download posters and also record your findings.

Mermaid purses are not only beautiful but they are also important to monitor and record. The number of sharks is declining and several species are endangered. Tracking where egg cases are found and what species have laid them helps to draw a picture of how species are doing.

Changes in the ocean temperature may also affect baby sharks. Warming oceans may mean that baby sharks emerge from the eggs earlier and they are weaker.

A great hunt for shark eggs is a fantastic way to spend a Sunday!

Enjoy the videos!

Several innovations have been inspired by sharks and I am sure these unique animals will continue to inspire us in the future.

A project about oviparous animals such as sharks is perfect anytime but might be especially welcome instead of the usual Easter egg projects.

Featured Image – Ian Armstrong from Travelling the world at moment, Australia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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