I saw this yesteerday, resting on the bottom near Pickles Reef and Snapper Ledge, Key Largo, Florida. It is probably about 10 inches long. 25-feet deep, 85-degree water. What is it?
It is a nurse shark egg case:)
-Hannah Medd, Msc. Marine Biodiversity, Shark Savers
Thank you very much. To me, it is all education, and very interesting. Here is what I learned:
There are three ways to have offspring -- live birth (placental), an egg or eggs deposited outside the body, and, lastly, an egg (not placental) inside the body. I believe, different shark species have different ways of having offspring, including all three possible ways.
Nurse sharks, I have read, produce live young OR brood (non-placental) eggs internally. I don't know what determines which nurse shark does what. When the nurse shark broods eggs internally, after the young breaks through the egg and leaves its mother's body, the mother casts out the used egg case(s). It is that cast out, used, egg case that I found, and it is what the picture shows.
That's cool. I kept thinking about this lonely post that has been out there unanswered for so long, but I had no idea what it was. Now that it's been identified by Hannah, I found photos at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/gallery/descript/nurseshark/nurseshark.htm that clearly match the photo posted here.
REEF Headquarters | P.O. Box 370246 | 98300 Overseas Hwy | Key Largo, FL 33037 | USA Phone: 305-852-0030 | Fax: 305-852-0301 | email: REEFHQ@REEF.org