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Banffshire Coast News

Shark's Easter Egg Marvel

Staff at the Macduff Marine Aquarium are celebrating an Easter Egg surprise.

A very rare double-yolked shark egg found at the Aquarium is possibly the first of its kind on record.  The egg came from a dogfish in the centre's kelp reef tank.  Staff have been raising dogfish for 16 years and this is the first time that a double-yolked mermaid's purse has been produced.

The Aquarium's shark expert has been studying and working with sharks for nearly 10 years, and has never seen or heard of twins in this species, the lesser spotted dogfish.  The female normally lays two hard egg capsules - mermaids' purses - in quick succession, but not normally two eggs in one purse.

There are no reports of this phenomenon to be found.

A young dogfish starts life as an embryo nourished by a yolk sac in the mermaid's purse.  It develops within the purse for up to 9 months, at which point it resembles a tiny shark.  It hatches and feeds on tiny crustaceans and worms on the sea bed.

Divers regularly pull mermaids' purses out of the kelp reef exhibit as the dogfish in there breed happily.  The purses are put in a nursery tank and monitored until they hatch.

Each year, some youngsters are released into the sea as part of a conservation effort to boost local populations.

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