'Headless chicken monster' filmed for first time in Southern Ocean waters

Federico Mansilla
Octubre 22, 2018

The footage of the sea cucumber, which is colloquially referred to as the "headless chicken monster", comes courtesy of new underwater camera technology being used by researchers to aid in marine conservation efforts.

With its blobby, pulsating red body and feeler-like webbed "feet", this thing doesn't look very familiar.

A "headless chicken monster", otherwise known as a deep-sea swimming cucumber, was filmed for the first time in the Southern Ocean off east Antarctica.

The unusual creature, officially named Enypniastes eximia, has only ever been filmed before in the Gulf of Mexico.

Originally developed by the Australian Antarctic Division for commercial use in long-line fishing, the underwater camera technology that captured the marine invertebrate is being used by the division to collect data for the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), an worldwide commission that focuses on conserving Antarctic marine life.

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"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".

"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", he said. "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".

By filming these waters, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is collecting data on how marine life is being affected by fishing.

Australia's commissioner for the meeting will push for a new East Antarctic Marine Protected Area.

These proposals are among a number of measures Australia will put forward during the 10-day meeting, including proposals to improve the way CCAMLR responds to the impacts of climate change.

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