MELBOURNE, Australia – What lives a mile under the ocean, has tentacles and fins and looks like a decapitated chicken ready for roasting?
The headless chicken monster, of course.
Yes, it’s actually the name of a rare creature captured on a weekly week by researchers working in the southern ocean, about 4000 kilometers, or nearly 2,5000 miles off the southwestern corner of Australia.
“Monster” – really a marine organ that helps to filter organic material on the seabed ̵
1; has been captured on film just once before, last year in the Gulf of Mexico.
Golvade of his unusual bodybuilding, researchers call it the headless chicken monster. (It is also known as badgardin, the Spanish dancer and its scientific name – Enypniastes eximia.)
“It looks like a chicken just before putting it in the oven,” said Dirk Welsford, the program leader of the Australian Antarctic Department , who were among the researchers to discover the animal off the Antarctic coast.
As part of a project to investigate the impact of fish on sensitive marine ecosystems, Dr. Welsford and his team specially designed cameras for fishing lines fell in depth of three kilometers, or nearly two miles.
This special project, Dr Welsford said, was designed to investigate the effects of commercial fishing on two species: Antarctica floss and patagonian dental fish h, better known to US consumers like Chilean sea bass.
“We had no idea what it was,” said Dr. Welsford when he first saw pictures of the creature.
Unlike most sea earphones, the headless chicken pattern has fins, which makes it possible to swim upwards to avoid predators.
“From a research point of view, it is very interesting, as no one has seen that species far south,” says Welsford. Adding to discover the animal near Antarctica can help researchers understand the distribution of the species and how it can be affected by climate change.
While observations of the sea cucumber date back to the late 1800s, scientists have “absolutely no idea” how many are in the oceans of the world, “says Dr. Welsford. It is “a fantastic reflection of how little we know about the deep sea”.
In addition to the monster, the researchers have taken pictures of “breathtaking” species that have never been seen in the southern seas, they said in a statement.
Understanding what parts of the seabed that are at home for unique marine life are crucial for determining the best places for sustainable fishing. Hospitals, for example, play an important role in filtering sediments, but they are threatened by overfishing.
The observation of the sea cucumber, Dr Welsford said, showed that there was an opportunity to use cheap, compact technology to “get a better picture” of life on the seabed. “The deep sea habitat is huge, and we have done so little research,” he said. “It’s very early.”