A "headless chicken monster" was spotted swimming in the Antarctic Ocean, Australian researchers announced Sunday.
The bizarre creature that does indeed look like it's missing a head is actually a sea cucumber scientifically known as Enypniastes eximia. As if looking like a headless chicken wasn't enough, it also has a webbed veil and a transparent body that shows its internal organs. The "monster" is also extremely active for a deep sea creature, and can measure up to 9 inches, past research has shown.
It was previously filmed in the Gulf of Mexico, and now the Australian Government announced researchers with the Australian Antarctic Division captured clear video of this odd sea cucumber flapping its veil and appearing to feed or crawl using its tentacles across the ocean floor.
This is the first time the headless chicken monster has been sighted in southern ocean waters, the Australian government noted in a release.
“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,” Gillian Slocum, Australia’s Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources Commissioner, said in a statement.
Australian researchers were able to capture the rare sight using new technology attached to toothfish longlines.
“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," said Dirk Welsford, Australian Antarctic Division Program Leader.
The collected images and data, which will be presented at the annual CCAMLR meeting this week, will also show what areas of the ocean might be adversely affected by fishing, Welsford said.
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