Shetland Shark and Skate Eggcase Hunt

If you have access to the coast and head there as part of your daily exercise we would like you to keep your eye out for shark and skate eggcases or ‘mermaids purses’ as they are often known. Why not get the kids involved too!

The shark and skate species around Shetland produce these eggcases each with a single embryo inside. Once hatched the eggcases wash up on beaches and can be found in the strandline. Although Shetland has a few very active recorders (click here to read about Sally Hubands experiences hunting for eggcases in Shetland) we have very limited information about the species present around Shetland, so the distribution of eggcases are a great indicator of the species breeding around our coast.

Click here to learn how to prepare and identify your eggcase(s)

There are a surprising variety of eggcases and once you get looking it is interesting to see how many different species you can find on a beach.

Each species produces an eggcase with a slightly different design. Using the ID guide provided by the Shark Trust as part of their Great Eggcase Hunt you can identify and find out more about the species you have found. The Shark Trust has a great App: Great Eggcase Hunt, which you can download from your phone’s app store. If you don’t have a compatible smart phone or don’t want to download the app you can send your records to them via their online recording form here.

The Shark Trust and ourselves will be sharing data from this project so your records will not only be helping us further understand the species and distribution of sharks, skates and rays around Shetland but also contribute to national conservation efforts. Check out the video below to see Cat Gordon, Senior Conservation Officer and the Shark Trust talk more about eggcase hunting….

If you have any questions or want to get in touch with us about the project, email us at or contact us here or on our Facebook page.