• A "headless chicken monster" was spotted floating in Southern Ocean waters off East Antarctica.
  • The official name for this "monster" is Enypniastes eximia.
  • It has been caught on film only once before, last year in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Researchers hope the rare footage will help the push for the creation of a new Antarctic conservation zone.


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

Australian researchers were able to film the monster - actually a deep-sea cucumber - for the first time in the region thanks to a 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," Australia's CCAMLR Commissioner Gillian Slocum said in a statement.

The official name for this "monster" is Enypniastes eximia. It has only been caught on film once before, last year in the Gulf of Mexico.

"It looks a bit like a chicken just before you put it in oven," Dirk Welsford, the program leader for the Australian Antarctic Division, told The New York Times. "From a research point of view, it's very interesting, because no one has seen that species that far south before."

Some people have welcomed their new "headless chicken monster" master.

But others haven't quite embraced the discovery yet.

Sea cucumbers are an important part of the marine ecosystem, but some are on the brink of extinction due to overfishing. Researchers hope the rare footage will help the push for the creation of a new Antarctic conservation zone.

The data collected will be presented at the annual Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting this week. It will also include proposals to improve the way CCAMLR responds to the impacts of climate change.

"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," Australian Antarctic Division programme leader Dr. Dirk Welsford said.

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