‘Live fast, die young’: An endangered marsupial may be mating itself to death


A tiny endangered marsupial is dying for sex.

The male northern colt — a carnivorous mammal. About the size of a small domestic cat — walks so far in his desperate search for a female mate. And sleeps so little that it may be causing his own early death, according to a study published Wednesday.

The quoll lives in parts of Western and Northern Australia. And is known for its unusual mating habits. Males are so-called suicidal breeders that die after a single mating season. While females live and breed for up to four years.

Now new research from two Australian teams.

University of the Sunshine Coast and University of Queensland. Sheds light on why that might be.

Researchers placed small backpacks with trackers on the laps of both men. And women on Grote Island, a large island off the coast of Australia’s Northern Territory. And found significant differences in the behavior of men and women.

A machine-learning algorithm was then used to analyze footage recorded over 76 hours. And predict colt behavior over a 42-day period.

Their findings, published in Royal Society Open Science. Suggest that males become so exhausted. That they fail to find enough food or be alert enough to predators.

One male, which the researchers named Moimoi, walked 6.5 miles a night in search of a mate. A distance equal to an average-sized human walking up to 24 miles, the researchers said.

Joshua Gasock, who led the study, said in a statement: “Insomnia. And associated symptoms over long periods of time, make recovery impossible. And may explain why men die after the breeding season. A tiny endangered marsupial is dying for sex.

“They become easy prey, unable to avoid vehicle collisions, or die of exhaustion.”


The health risks of sleep deprivation in rodents are well-documented. And mice studied by researchers showed weight loss, aggressive and reckless behavior.

To make finding a mate even more troublesome, male colts suffer from poor appearance. And attract an increasing number of parasites due to their lack of grooming, the study found.

Several other animals, including some fish and insects. Put all their energy into one breeding season. A process known as semelparity – but the koala is the largest mammal known to do so.

Jack Ashby, assistant director of the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge, England. And an expert on Australian mammals who was not involved in Cole’s research. Explained that all animals have costs for their own bodies and long-term survival. Young These costs are generally weighted throughout the life of the parent.

“Male suicidal breeders — a strategy among mammals.

That has evolved many times in marsupials. But not in any other group — take this trade-off to the extreme. Sacrificing everything for a reproductive event,” he told todaystrendnews News via email. A tiny endangered marsupial is dying for sex.

“‘Live fast, die young’ is the way of things for this species. However, this maxim usually ends, ‘ … and leave a handsome corpse.’ That doesn’t happen here.”

During Ashby’s own fieldwork in the seasonal forests of northern Australia. He said he found male northern quolls near the end of their short breeding window. “They’re bald, covered in scabs, sores, ticks and other parasites. It’s obvious their bodies are shutting down,” he said.

“It’s understandable that the effort they put into finding a mate during.

That time leads to a lack of sleep and less time to take care of themselves in general. As this new study suggests,” he added.

Christopher Clemente, one of the researchers behind the study. The future of the cole is under threat, but not because of mating. A tiny endangered marsupial is dying for sex.

“Its conservation status is: Endangered (population decline). Due to habitat loss, with the introduction of invasive species such. As dogs, cats, foxes and cane toads,” he said.

The team wants to continue their work. And look at the effects of sleep deprivation on other marsupial mammals in Australasia. Such as opossums and Tasmanian devils.

A cane toad weighing about 6 pounds was recently found in northern Australia and named “Toadzilla.”

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