Too much sex and not enough sleep is deadly for endangered marsupial

University of the Sunshine Coast

Endangered male Northern Quolls are giving up sleep in favour of having more sex – and it could be killing them, according to new research led by the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The study investigated why male Northern Quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus) – carnivorous marsupials the size of a small cat who usually mate themselves to death in one season – do not survive to breed again while females can live and reproduce for up to four years.

The findings, published today in Royal Society Open Science, suggest not enough sleep is contributing to the post-breeding die-off of males.

“They cover large distances to mate as often as possible and it seems that their drive is so strong that they forgo sleeping to spend more time searching for females,” says UniSC Senior Lecturer in Animal Ecophysiology Dr Christofer Clemente.

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