‘Headless Chicken Monster’ Sea Creature Eyed by ROV Submarine

Researchers working in the North Pacific Ocean have captured video of a so-called “headless chicken monster” pulsating its way through the sea, 6,500 feet below the water’s surface.

In a new video researchers aboard the EV Nautilus—a 223-foot-long research vessel owned by the Ocean Exploration Trust—showcase a genuine chicken of the sea. That is a “headless chicken monster” of the sea, that is actually a sea cucumber. And if you’re thinking about food now, after seeing the headless chicken monster, you won’t be.

In the minute-long-video above we get a glimpse of the headless chicken monster thanks to the “Zeus” camera aboard the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) submarine named “Hercules.” The researchers spotted the strange organism above the Loudoun Seamount in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument due south of the Hawaiian Islands, at a depth of approximately 6,500 feet.

“Headless chicken,” one of the researchers says into his mic as he, alongside his crew members, watch the video of the creature sent back from the ROV. Everybody laughs before somebody else chimes in: “I think there is a headless chicken of the deep sea, yeah.”

As one of the researchers notes the creature belongs to Enypniastes, a genus of deep-sea cucumber that includes only a single species: Enypniastes eximia. Because of its—unique—appearance, the species has been dubbed the headless chicken fishthe headless chicken monster, and the Spanish dancer.

The video’s description notes this species of sea cucumber is unique for its webbed swimming fin structures. The headless chicken—like a lot of regular chickens—typically spends its days “gobbling up detritus among sediment grains” on the seabed. EVNautilus notes that its unique swimming behavior “helps it avoid predators, locate to new feeding areas, and delight science teams.”

Image: EVNautilus

“Delight” may be a stretch for some regular folks, however, as the headless chicken is really more unsettling than it is beautiful. The dark purple cucumber, which measures about 17 inches long when its fins are extended, has a head(?) that’s reminiscent of a sandworm’s mouth from Dune and generally swims like it’s stalking… something. Maybe one of these “unidentified gelatinous creatures,” which are just as freaky looking.

Feature image: EVNautilus

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