New Deep Sea Species Off Antarctica Resembles ‘Headless Chicken’

Source: Live Science/Mindy Weisberger

Photo: NOAA/Wikimedia Commons


Meet the real-life “chicken of the sea”: a strange, pinkish-red creature with a body like a plump-breasted and decapitated chicken, earning the creature the name “headless chicken monster.”

In truth, it is neither a chicken nor a monster. It’s the swimming sea cucumber Enypniastes eximia, and scientists recently captured video of this bizarre, hen-mimicking swimmer in the Southern Ocean near eastern Antarctica, where it has never been seen before.

Footage shows the colorful sea cucumber drifting through the water; fins at the top and bottom of its tubby, translucent body almost resemble the stubby wings and legs on plucked, pink poultry ready for the pot. If you squint, you might think you’re looking at the result of an ill-fated tryst between a chicken and Aquaman.

Not everyone recognizes the gelatinous sea cucumber’s similarity to a chicken, though its appearance is undeniably peculiar. Photos of the crimson creature that were shared around the Live Science newsroom prompted comparisons to “a frilly pillow case,” “a bloody flying squirrel,” “a raw steak with fins” and “what you’d get if you asked a machine learning algorithm to make you a picture of a fish.”

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Photo: NOAA/Wikimedia Commons