Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, June 2005

     April’s Creature Feature was the egg case of skates, rays, and chain dogfish.  The cases you find on NJ beaches are most likely from the Clearnose Skate (Raja eglanteria).  You may even find one with a baby skate growing inside, but most are empty.  The dark brown pouch with a leathery texture and “horns” on the sides is also called a “mermaid’s purse.”  Long tendrils, which extend from the horns, are used by the mother to secure the egg case to seaweed.  A single female may lay up to 66 eggs in one season and egg incubation lasts at least three months, after which a fully formed miniature skate emerges from the case.  A newly hatched skate measures between 3 and 4 inches from wing tip to wing tip and is between 5 and 6 inches long.  The Clearnose Skate is found in the western north Atlantic, from Massachusetts to south Florida and the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico.  There were no correct entries for this creature.

     June’s Creature is common along the beaches of NJ.  These extremely thin, paper-like shells are translucent yellow, orange, or silvery white in color.  They get their name from the sound they make as they rattle around in your pocket, not from the popular Christmas song.  To enter for a chance to win a COA T-shirt, send your guess by mail, fax, or e-mail (PO Box 505, Sandy Hook, NJ 07732; fax 732-872-8041;


(What’s Cool at ICE and Coastal Creature Feature appear every other month.)


49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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