'Headless chicken sea monster' in Antarctica filmed for first time

‘Headless chicken monster’ spotted off east Antarctica for the first time

A "headless chicken monster" was spotted floating in Southern Ocean waters off East Antarctica.

Meet the real-life "chicken of the sea": a unusual, pinkish-red creature with a body like a plump-breasted and decapitated chicken, earning the creature the name "headless chicken monster".

The mesmerizing footage was filmed by Australian fishing cameras, according to the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), the public organization running the country's Antarctic program.

The unusual creature-technically a deep-sea sea cucumber (Enypniastes eximia)-was previously recorded last year in the Gulf of Mexico, a long way from east Antarctica. The agency also notes Enypniastes eximia are also referred to as Spanish dancer.

Australian researchers developed camera technology to capture their first footage of the sea cucumber in the Southern Ocean.

"The housing that protects the camera and electronics is created to attach to tooth fish longlines in the Southern Ocean, so it needs to be extremely durable".

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While most types of sea cucumbers spend the majority of their time on the sea bed, swimming sea cucumbers like E. eximia land only to feed, researchers reported in the 1990 study.

This is the first time the odd-looking animal has been spotted in the area; it has previously been seen only in the Gulf of Mexico, with its first sighting dating back to 1984.

Programme Leader Dr Dirk Welsford said the cameras are capturing important data which is being fed into the worldwide body managing the Southern Ocean, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

"The Southern Ocean is home to an incredible abundance and variety of marine life, including commercially sought-after species, the harvesting of which must be carefully managed for future generations", said Slocum.

The "headless chicken monster" name is no overstatement.


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