Marine Biology Section ©  2020

Marine Biology Société Jersiaise

Mermaids’ Purses - Ray and Shark Eggcases

In December 2012 the Marine Biology Section of the Société Jersiaise was presented with a bagful of mermaids’ purses that had been collected during an organised beach clean. We didn’t know much about mermaids’ purses at the time but, with some help from the Shark Trust, were able to determine that the eggcases came from two different species of ray (blonde and undulate) and one species of shark (small catshark).

We asked our regular beach cleaners to keep any more mermaids’ purses that they found and soon we were receiving hundreds of them. The most we have had in a single month is 505 which included one that had been attached to a supermarket trolley recovered from St Helier Marina.

To date we have collected and identified over 8,000 eggcases from across all the island’s beaches. These records are being used to document the diversity of ray and small shark species in our waters and it is hoped that they might be useful for monitoring the abundance of these species too. All our records are shared with the Shark Trust and their French equivalent, APECS.

Over 700 mermaids’ purses were collected during December 2016.

Find out about the Shark Trust’s Egg Hunt project

Find out about France’s APECS eggcase project

Download our guide to Jersey’s mermaids’ purses

An article about our Mermaids’ Purses Research

An Undulate Ray on the seabed off Ronez Point in June 2014.