"Headless Chicken Monster" Astounds Scientists
This sea cucumber commonly nicknamed the “headless chicken monster” is unique for its webbed swimming fin structures. Although it typically spends its days gobbling up detritus among sediment grains on the seabed, the unique behavior to swim through the water column helps it avoid predators, locate new feeding areas, and delight science teams.
Recorded on ROV Hercules’ Zeus camera while diving at the Loudoun Seamount over 2,000 meters deep, this invertebrate is from the genus Enypniastes. The only species in its genus, it's also sometimes known as a “swimming sea cucumber,” “pink see-through fantasia,” and a “headless chicken.” This dark-colored sea cucumber is just one of the amazing creatures we’ve witnessed on expedition Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu while exploring the Liliʻuokalani Ridge Seamounts.
Learn more about this expedition funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute with additional support from the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
This expedition will have E/V Nautilus returning to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) to build on the accomplishments of the 2021 Luʻuaeaahikiikalipolipo expedition, which mapped the previously unmapped Liliʻuokalani Ridge Seamounts. The team returns for the first visual exploratory surveys of the seamount chain looking to investigate a puzzling split in the seamount trail.