A bizarre ocean creature with an even stranger nickname has been caught on camera for the first time. Previously only seen in the Gulf of Mexico, the sea cucumber Enypniasties eximia, affectionately known as the "headless chicken monster," was spotted in the Southern Ocean off of eastern Antarctica for the first time by the Australian Antarctic Division Program. Per CNN, the researchers hope the fascinating new footage will help in their bid to create an Antarctic conservation zone to protect species like the headless chicken monster.
Ecological protection, however, was not the only goal of the operation that led to the discovery. The Australian team was actually using camera technology developed to be used as part of efforts to improve sustainable fishing practices. "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,” Australian Antarctic Division Program Leader Dr. Dirk Welsford said in a statement, per the Guardian. “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.” (Earlier this month, a Brit in Australian waters encountered a less innocuous sea creature.)