Strange black ‘pouches’ washing up on Carolina beaches aren’t ‘pieces of plastic,’ officials say


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North Carolina residents taking a stroll alongside one of many state’s many seashores could have seen black, plastic-looking “pouches” on the shore.

These odd-looking objects — identified by some as “mermaid’s purses” or “satan’s pocketbooks,” in response to The Information & Observer — could seem like plastic, however officers with the Cape Hatteras Nationwide Seashore clarified Monday they aren’t in any respect.


“No these aren’t items of plastic; they’re skate eggs!” the Cape Hatteras Nationwide Seashore clarified on Fb.

“Skates are within the shark household however share a flat-like look much like stingrays. These leathery pouches function an egg sack and are usually connected to a plant or different stationary object within the water,” the nationwide seashore defined, including the sacs usually “wash ashore after the skate has hatched.”

A wide range of skate species — such because the little skate, the barndoor skate and the winter skate — may be discovered off the coast of North Carolina, in response to the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife.

The winter skate, particularly, reproduces late in life, normally when the creature reaches 11 years in age and roughly 2.5 ft in size, in response to Nationwide Oceanic and Administration (NOAA). The winter skate “lay eggs year-round however have few offspring.”

The eggs incubate contained in the laborious case for roughly 6 to 12 months, in response to NOAA. At the moment, they hatch in grownup kind.

Whereas skates could resemble stingrays, the 2 species have contrasting strategies of replica, which is likely one of the largest distinction between these two ocean creatures, in response to the Florida Museum.

“Rays are live-bearing (viviparous) whereas skates are egg-laying (oviparous), releasing their eggs in laborious rectangular circumstances generally referred to as ‘mermaid’s purses,’” the museum said, including rays have spines on their tails whereas skates don’t.


Each rays and skates are “intently associated to sharks.”

The UK-based Marine Conservation Society has a web-based information to assist beachgoers determine the totally different skate egg capsules they could come throughout.

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