Mermaid’s Purse

Winter storms wash mermaid’s purses onto the sandy beaches. I found this one in the fresh wrack on March 9. The only dog on the beach beat me to it, and that’s why you see those tracks in the sand.

I flipped it over to reveal the view most often shown in photos. Mermaid’s purses are egg cases produced by some skates and sharks. This one is a good-sized specimen.

The mermaid’s purse I’ve featured here is probably the egg case of the big skate. Big skates are common on the Oregon coast. They get several feet long and hang out on and over soft bottoms, usually less than 1000 feet deep.

I don’t lots many mermaid’s purses washed up on the beaches. Have you ever discovered one?

The Marine Detective’s post, Big Skate Egg Case/Mermaid’s Purse, gives some great natural history and examples of other egg cases you could encounter in the Pacific Northwest.


I updated this post on December 6, 2022.

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