from left to right eggcases of undulate ray, spotted ray and thornback ray.
Organised by the Shark Trust, the Great Eggcase Hunt aims to get as many people as possible hunting for shark and skate eggcases along the seashore. Commonly known as mermaid’s purses these capsules provide protection and nourishment for the developing fish before it emerges as a miniature version of the adult.
Recently, a group of students from Kingston Maurward College combed the entire Studland beach from Shell Bay to South Beach finding a total of 33 eggcases. Each species has a slightly different structure so if they are in good condition it is possible to identify the fish that laid them.
The most significant species here is the undulate ray. Classed as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) they are protected and cannot be landed by commercial fishermen.