Mermaid's purse

Mermaid's purse

Mermaid's purses (also known as Devil's Purses) are the normally empty egg cases of skates, sharks and rays. They are among the objects which are washed in by the sea, and can be found at the shore, at the furthest point of the high tide.

The size of mermaid's purses vary; those of the small-spotted catshark or lesser spotted dogfish, "Scyliorhinus canicula", are around convert|5|cm long, while those of the greater spotted dogfish, "S. stellaris", are around convert|10|cm. That excludes the four long tendrils found in each corner, which assist in anchorage. Mermaid's purses from rays vary in that they have points rather than tendrils. The colour and shape of mermaid's purses also varies greatly from species to species.

The young fish would normally gestate between 6 to 12 months, but can be much longer for deep sea catsharks which lay their eggs in very cold water.

If a mermaid's purse is still moist (not dried out) and has no visible hole, it is probably still occupied.


;General references
* [ Florida Museum of Natural History, Most Commonly Asked Questions]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • mermaid's-purse — /mɜmeɪdz ˈpɜs/ (say mermaydz pers) noun → sea purse …   Australian English dictionary

  • mermaid's purse — an egg case of an Elasmobranchii, usually oblong with horns or tendrils …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • mermaid's purse — the horny or leathery egg case of certain cartilaginous fishes, as skates. [1830 40] * * * …   Universalium

  • mermaid's purse — noun The egg case of a cartilaginous fish …   Wiktionary

  • mermaid's purse — noun the horny egg case of a skate, ray, or small shark …   English new terms dictionary

  • mermaid's purse — noun : the dark horny or leathery egg case of various skates or other elasmobranch fishes …   Useful english dictionary

  • mermaid's pinbox — mermaid s purse …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • Purse (disambiguation) — A purse is a large or small handbag in American English, and a small money container similar to a wallet in British English.Purse may also refer to: * Samaritan s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization * Purse seine, a type …   Wikipedia

  • marmaid's purse — mermaid s purse (Scottish dialect) …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • sailor's purse — mermaid s purse (an egg case of an Elasmobranchii, usually oblong with horns or tendrils) …   Dictionary of ichthyology

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