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I found this egg case on the beach at Cuckmere Haven a week or so ago. With such a leathery, tough outer skin, it’s easy to see how well this could protect the embryo that must once have been inside.

191107 mermaids purse (1)

I checked the Shark Trust website’s identification page and, given the south coast location, I think this eggcase might belong to a ray, perhaps a Spotted ray (Raja montagui) or an Undulate ray (Raja undulata).

I’m not sure where the name Mermaid’s purse came from – perhaps it’s simply because the eggcases come from the sea, are vaguely purse-shaped and hold something valuable inside them.