Enypniastes Eximia: The Deep Sea Creature Being Called a ‘Headless Chicken Monster’


Scientists discovered an Enypniastes eximia – or what’s being called a “headless chicken monster” – swimming in the Antarctic Ocean, Australian researchers announced Sunday.

This odd looking deep sea creature, which does indeed appear as if it lost its head somewhere, is actually a sea cucumber known in the science world as Enypniastes eximia. Its headless appearance isn’t the critter’s only striking feature, however, it also has a webbed veil and a transparent body that shows its internal organs.

This so called “monster” is also very active for a small deep sea creature, measuring up to just 9-inches, studies show.

Previously spotted in the Gulf of Mexico, Australian Government officials announced researchers with the Australian Antarctic Division captured a high quality video of this odd sea cucumber flapping its veil and possibly feeding along the ocean floor.

This is the first time the headless chicken monster has been recorded in southern ocean waters, the Australian government also noted in their 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 credited their rare find to an underwater camera system developed for commercial long-line fishing by the AAD.

Australian Antarctic Division Program Leader Dr Dirk Welsford, said the cameras are capturing important data which is being fed into the international body managing the Southern Ocean, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

“The housing that protects the camera and electronics is designed to attach to toothfish longlines in the Southern Ocean, so it needs to be extremely durable,” Dr Welsford said.

“We needed something that could be thrown from the side of a boat, and would continue operating reliably under extreme pressure in the pitch black for long periods of time,” she continued. “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.”

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