Sex kills for some male marsupials, research shows
SYDNEY (AFP) - Mating is such an arduous and frenzied process for some male marsupials that it literally kills them, according to new Australian-led research.
Scientists had wondered for decades why some species of insect-eating marsupials dropped dead after sex, with speculation including that they died from fighting or to leave more food for their offspring.
But research published in the US-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences puts the "dying off" down to the animals' extreme efforts to ensure their sperm is successful in the short once-a-year window that females offer to mate.
"There's always a cost to reproducing - it's an energy expensive thing that animals do," lead researcher, mammal ecologist Diana Fisher from the University of Queensland, explained Tuesday.