Sex is matter of life, then death for male marsupials

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A new study suggests that some species of marsupials mate with such vigour and intensity that it quite literally kills them.

The scientists say that males die in large numbers after mating with as many partners as possible in sex sessions lasting up to 14 hours at a time.

A key factor in this costly coitus is the promiscuous behaviour of females who all breed at the same time of year.

The study is published in the journal PNAS.

Suicidal reproduction or semelparity is well known in many species of plants and fish but is rare in mammals.

This new study looks at the mating behaviour of 52 different species of small, insect eating marsupials in Australia, South America and Papua New Guinea.

They found that in some of these animals, such as the antechinus, the phascogale and the dasykaluta, male attempts to father offspring cost them their lives.

Written By: Matt McGrath
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

12 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #4 by Roedy:

      other diers include cuttlefish, octopus, salmon, spiders, mantises, drone bees.

      The sex life of male honey bees and some spiders is short and brutal!

      http://www.orkin.com/stinging-pests/bees/mechanics-of-honey-bee-mating/

      When a virgin queen flies to a site where thousands of male honey bees may be waiting, she mates with several males in flight. A male drone will mount the queen and insert his endophallus, ejaculating semen. After ejaculation, a male honey bee pulls away from the queen, though his endophallus is ripped from his body, remaining attached to the newly fertilized queen.

      The next male honey bee to mate with the queen will remove the previous endophallus and eventually lose his own after ejaculation. Male honey bees are only able to mate seven to 10 times during a mating flight, and after mating, a drone dies quickly, as his abdomen rips open when his endophallus is removed. Even drones that survive the mating flight are ejected from their nests, as they have served their sole purpose by mating.

      Sexual cannibalism

      refers to a female’s cannibalizing of her male mate prior to, during or after copulation.[1] It is a phenomenon characterized primarily by members of arachnid orders as well as several insect orders.

  1. Yeah, when I get laid these days, it almost kills me too!
    Seriously though, there are hundreds of plants that only produce once and seeds lie dormant!
    Maybe another clue as to the facts of life???

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