UK beachcombers gather up 75,000 shark egg cases
More than 75,000 shark egg cases have been collected from UK beaches by volunteers taking part in a major citizens' science conservation project.
The Great Eggcase Hunt is organised by the Shark Trust charity which has introduced a new smartphone app to assist the search.
Since the project started in 2003, participants have helped experts record 13 species of shark, skate and ray egg cases found around the UK coast. A shark egg case, also known as a "mermaid's purse", is a tough leathery pouch that protects the developing embryo. Once hatched, the empty egg cases are often washed up on beaches.
Egg cases of different species vary in size and shape, making it possible to identify the fish they belong to.
Sharks are essential to ocean ecosystems but their numbers are dwindling, the charity says. At least 30 species of shark are found close to UK coastlines.