Following the designation of the Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura MPA for common skate last year we are looking for information about common skate egg cases in Argyll from beachcombers, divers and fishermen. We hope the information will help solve the mystery of where common skate lay their eggs in the area.
Common skate are the largest elasmobranch egg cases you are likely to find in Scotland – and the rarest. They are about the size of an A4 sheet of paper – roughly 30cm long and 15cm across – with short slightly curved “horns” at the corners. Divers might spot green, leathery eggs with the fish still inside in rocky areas from 10 to 30m.
Beachcombers may find empty egg cases in the shallow water on the beach in which case they will be flat and black. However they are more common amongst the seaweed in the strandline where they dry and shrink, crinkling up and developing a coating of brown, papery, bark-like material.
Join The Shark Trust Great Eggcase Hunt at http://www.eggcase.org to help you identify any egg cases you find. Remove any empty skate egg cases from the beach and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the location and date you found them. If you can, attach a photo of the egg case with a ruler or a 2 pence piece for scale.
MPA information at http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/protected-areas/national-designations/mpas/mpa-sju/
Photo credits: Skate photo courtesy of and (c) SSACN, two skate cases images by Jane Dodd of SNH.
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