Monday, 19 November, 2018

'Headless chicken monster' discovery could help protect Antarctic

Enipniastes eximia the Enipniastes eximia the"headless chicken monster
Theresa Hayes | 23 October, 2018, 12:10

A weird ocean creature with an even stranger nickname has been caught on camera for the first time.

For only the second time in history, a sea creature dubbed the "headless chicken monster" was filmed on the ocean floor, this time in Antarctica.

Researchers from Australia's Department of the Environment and Energy noticed the animal while using new deep-sea camera technology that they say was developed with the commercial longline fishing industry, to help with fisheries management.

Resembling a chicken with its head cut off, sporting tentacles and waving fins, the creature has a fancy scientific name (Enypniastes eximia), but is more commonly known as the swimming sea cucumber or Spanish dancer, in honor of those frilly fins.

A headless chicken monster, a type of sea cucumber, has been filmed for the first time in Southern Ocean waters off East Antarctica.

According to researchers, the devices have captured extensive footage from the deep Southern Ocean, including creatures that have previously never been caught on camera in that region.

The mesmerizing footage was filmed by Australian fishing cameras, according to the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), the public organization running the country's Antarctic program. "It looks a bit like a chicken just before you put it in the oven". It has only been caught on film once before, past year in the Gulf of Mexico. "From a research point of view, it's very interesting, because no one has seen that species that far south before".

The new information is due to be presented to the worldwide body managing the Southern Ocean - the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) - at its annual meeting in Hobart.

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.