The humble antechinus has been in the news recently because, well, it has so much sex that it dies. 1353 The result is a breakdown in the animal's immune system and death within 2 weeks. The reason for this is that with all the male's attention and energy taken up with sex, rather than feeding, stress and sex hormones strip the body of protein and fat (glucocorticoids and testosterone). However, they might not be around for much longer. In the mating season, the Tasman Peninsula Dusky Antechinus, a carnivorous marsupial, goes on a testosterone-fueled mating and fighting rampage for two to three weeks, with a single coupling sometimes lasting 14-hours. Scientists from the Queensland University of Technology have discovered a new species of marsupial from Australia, which quite literally mates itself to death. The antechinuses have become famous for their strange sexual habits. This video shows an antechinus similar to the Tasman Peninsula Dusky Antechinus: “Ultimately, the testosterone triggers a malfunction in the stress hormone shut-off switch; the resulting rise in stress hormones causes the males’ immune systems to collapse and they all drop dead before the females give birth to a single baby,” said the lead researcher, Andrew Baker. “If you had to sit down and design a reproductive system,” Baker says, “you wouldn’t come up with this one.”, Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark, Sex, Sex, and More Sex, Then Death: The Antechinus Story, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/06/basic-instincts-antechinus-marsupial-sex-until-death.html. Males of the species die after breeding constantly for weeks. Every mating season the males ferociously copulate with as many females as possible, in violent sessions that can last upwards of 14 hours – mostly to die from exhaustion afterwards. The male antechinus dies after a non-stop 14-hour of sex session. By signing up you are agreeing to our, Humans Sleep Less Than Closely-Related Mammals, Portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Favorite Collars and the Stories Behind Them, Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2020 TIME USA, LLC. After one short year, the male Antechinus dies its programmed death. As their names suggests, they are very agile… Small wonder, as Baker observes, that “both sexes become really stressed.”. For five more months, they gain weight that they’ll burn off having sex, says mammalogist Andrew Baker of Australia’s Queensland University of Technology. After three weeks of speed-mating the male antechinus, a marsupial, dies to leave enough food for the females and their offspring The females are synchronously monoestrous with mating occurring over a short 3 week period. The male Antechinus is left so exhausted by its constant copulation that it loses all its fur, bleeds internally and dies a gangrenous and ulcer-infected wreck. The males of some species of insect-eating marsupials have a very strange life history, mating themselves to death. There is some logic to this evolutionary strategy; the yearly ‘suicide mission’ halves the population of the species and allows the females to have enough food to raise the next generation. This is not an evolutionary flaw. Life is short and sex-centered for the genus Antechinus. In the kinds of scenes not seen since George Best found the back door entrance into The Buxom Booby Bonanza Club in Stoke Newington in 1974, the Antechinus spends the last two weeks of it short life overcome with a testosterone fuelled urge to get nasty (pron. During mating season, which lasts for several weeks each year, males and females move frantically from one mate to another. Really, though, a successful male will have undergone quite a bit of mating on this accelerated schedule, siring multiple offspring by multiple females, despite the short time available. Qld: The suicidal mating routine of the male marsuipial antechinus. It is, in fact, a feature of the species. "Ultimately, the testosterone triggers a malfunction in … A newly discovered marsupial in Australia lives for sex and gives its life during mating season. Scientists from the Queensland University of Technology have discovered a new species of marsupial from Australia, which quite literally mates itself to death. ... and they usually die of infections or internal bleeding — they "mate themselves to death," Fisher said. The yellow-footed antechinus is a marsupial has a rare and unusual mating behavior known as "male semelparity." In many Antechinus species, males huddle together in nests woven out of gum leaves in tree hollows – groups of both sexes share nests for most of the year. Its own libido. For males of the antechinus species, a natural death is caused by stress-induced immune system breakdown after mating. Dr Andrew Baker has discovered the Tasman Peninsula Dusky Antechinus, which is already destined for the threatened list. What leads the mouselike creature pictured here to its death? The antechinus mating season occurs during the southern hemisphere winter when food is in short supply, leading to the theory that their behaviour was a sort of self-sacrifice. This hard work takes its toll, and the male Antechinus simply can’t keep up. Researchers have discovered two new species of a rare marsupial called the antechinus, and there may still be more species out there. However, since my last visit to Lake Manchester a week ago, there has been a controlled back-burning operation over several kilometres. The new creature is a black-tailed variety of the antechinus Photo: Gary ... a disintegration of body tissue and eventually death. The yellow-footed antechinus (Antechinus flavipes), also known as the mardo, is a shrew-like marsupial found in Australia.One notable feature of the species is its sexual behavior.The male yellow-footed antechinus engages in such frenzied mating that its immune system becomes compromised, resulting in stress related death before it is one year old. There's no courtship, just sex -- with as many partners as possible. Qld: The suicidal mating routine of the male marsuipial antechinus. At this time of year, the undergrowth is a hive of activity as mouse-sized marsupial carnivores called antechinus come together for a once-in-a-lifetime mating ritual — literally. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our, This Newly Discovered Australian Mammal Mates Itself to Death. Mating can take up to 12 h, with the death of the males shortly after copulation. The Black Tailed Antechinus marsupial literally fucks itself to death. ... previously found two new species of the genus Antechinus in ... results in death. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC.   The males experience mass mortality after mating, with male survival only observed in … Each year, all the males in the species go on a mating and fighting rampage, which only ends when … The Male Antechinus. Vote Now, You can unsubscribe at any time. It's that time of year again, when some animals just can't help themselves. Stiff Competition: why one small marsupial is the only mammal to mate itself to death. Scientists from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia have discovered two new species of antechinus - a genus of tiny carnivorous marsupials whose males are wiped out each spring after mating themselves to death. Antechinus males “also have all this testosterone coursing through them from trying to get girls,” Baker says, and the testosterone keeps cortisol gushing when it should shut off.
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