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Australian Marsupial Likely to Become Extinct from Having Too Much Sex

Male antechinus ferociously copulate with as many females as possible during mating season, with the violent sessions often lasting for more than 14 hours. This is turns has a detrimental effect on their bodies, and in turn is pushing them towards extinction.

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Updated:July 26, 2019, 9:18 AM IST
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Australian Marsupial Likely to Become Extinct from Having Too Much Sex
Image credit: Reuters (Image for representation)
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Turns out too much of sex may be a bad thing, at least for this Aussie marsupial. Fears have been raised that the Australian marsupial is facing extinction, and scientists say sex is to blame. The two new species of tiny black-tailed and silver-headed antechinus, that were discovered five years ago may be killing themselves with too much sex, reveal scientists.

Turns out, the males ferociously copulate with as many females as possible during mating season, with the violent sessions often lasting for more than 14 hours. This is turns has a detrimental effect on their bodies, and in turn is pushing them towards extinction.

According to a story published in the Daily Mail, Queensland University of Technology mammalogist Dr Andrew Baker said the research team was alarmed after spending two months around Best of All Lookout at Springbrook National Park as part of their ongoing study of the rare marsupials, adding that when they had done trap-and-release studies in the area from 2013 to 2017, the place was teeming with small mammals of various ages. The scientists expected something similar.

However, in the 1750 traps recently set, no rare black-tailed dusky or silver-headed antechinus were captured, nor any of the very common brown antechinus.

Baker added, "Both the males and females are usually seeking to increase their strength ahead of the synchronised mating event that occurs from late August into September each year. So it begs a worrying question – is the black-tailed dusky antechinus lost from this area?'

Turns out, as the scientists point out, the marsupials are risking themselves with their 'suicidal' mating habits and after males reach sexual readiness, they stop making sperm – so they must do all that they can to reproduce.

According to researchers, during these sex marathons, the males put all their energy into mating, causing the rest of their bodies to fall apart.

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