Showing posts from April, 2016

Mermaid's Purse

A few weeks ago, the HRAP staff was alerted that a mermaid’s purse had been found on the beach. A mermaid’s purse is an egg capsule produced by the Big Skate, (Raja binoculata). The capsule, which is oblong in shape, usually measures 9-12 in long and 4-7 in wide. It has horns protruding from the corners. This species is oviparis, which means that the egg capsules often contain more than one embryo. This particular egg capsule held three juvenile skates. Unfortunately, the capsule was damaged, and the skates fell to the sand when a visitor picked up the capsule. 
The Big Skate is the largest species of the skate family. They are found on the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California. They feed on worms, crustaceans, molluscs, and small fish.

While the capsule contained three juvenile Big Skates, their premature entry to the world due to the damaged egg capsule was detrimental. Some visitors picked up the skates to take pictures, despite the HRAP staff member’s pleas to leave them alon…