A weird looking sea creature nicknamed a “headless chicken monster” has been captured on video for the first time in the waters off east Antarctica.
The bizarre deep-sea creature is actually a type of sea cucumber, Enypniastes eximia, and has only been recorded before in the Gulf of Mexico, according to scientists.
The Australian government announced Sunday that researchers discovered the headless chicken monster, as it’s widely known, swimming in the depths of the Southern Ocean off east Antarctica.
The sea cucumber was captured with new camera technology developed by the Australian Antarctic Division for commercial long-line fishing to monitor the impact commercial fisheries have on ecosystems and help to improve marine conservation.
“Some of the footage we are getting back from the cameras is breathtaking, including species we have never seen in this part of the world,” project leader Dr. Dirk Welsford said in a statement. “Most importantly, the cameras are providing important information about areas of sea floor that can withstand this type of fishing, and sensitive areas that should be avoided.”
The sea cucumber features a transparent body, revealing its internal organs. The thing spends most of its time feeding off the ocean floor and it can swim if wants to move quickly, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency also notes Enypniastes eximia are also referred to as Spanish dancer.
“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,” Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) commissioner Gillian Slocum said in a statement.
The data collected from the cameras is being presented to the CCAMLR annual meeting this week.
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