Mermaids Purse is the every-day name given to the egg cases of the Common Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canaliculata (Linnaeus). Empty, dry, blackened cases are a common find of the strandline of beaches. However, the beautiful, fresh, translucent, glossy cases in these photographs were washed up at Fall Bay in Gower after stormy weather at sea. The tendrils extending from each corner of the egg cases were entwined around a clump of multi-coloured seaweeds.

The orange yolk within the egg cases is visible. In some egg cases even the embryonic fish (attached to the yolk) can be clearly observed – these were moving around when I took the pictures. What a wonderful sight.

There are some more pictures of Mermaids’ Purses in later posts: Some more Mermaids’ Purses from Gower and A different kind of Mermaids’ Purse.


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8 Replies to “Mermaids’ Purses at Fall Bay”

  1. Sorta sad that you can see the fish in the egg sac … clearly it was doomed …

    Your photos are amazing and informative.


  2. I have good news – the mermaids purses were washed back to sea on the next tide and there is a good chance that the fish embryos survived.


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