The Male Antechinus Dies After Non-Stop 14-Hour Sex Session

Antechinus is a genus of small dasyurid marsupial endemic to Australia. They resemble mice with the bristly fur of shrews. They are sometimes also called broad-footed marsupial mice, pouched mice, route rat and/or Antechinus shrews. However, these common names are considered either regional or archaic and the modern common name for the animals is Antechinus.

Antechinus have short fur and are generally greyish or brownish in colour, this varies with species. The fur is dense and generally soft. Their tails are thin and tapering and range from slightly shorter to slightly longer than body length. Their heads are conical in shape and ears are small to medium in size. Some species have a relatively long, narrow snout that gives them a shrew like appearance. Species vary from 1231cm in length and weigh 16170 g when fully grown. A. agilis is the smallest known species, and A. swainsonii the largest.

Most species nest communally in tree-hollows. They primarily inhabit all forests, woodlands and rainforest as well as heaths and grasslands in some species. The majority of Antechinus species are located on the eastern coast of Australia along the Great Dividing Range. There is a population of A. flavipes in south west Western Australia. A. bellus lives in northern Australia around the Gulf of Carpentaria. The following are all species of marsupial mammal antechinus; A. adustus, A. agilis, A. argentus, A. arktos, A. bellus, A. flavipes, A. godmani, A. leo, A. mimetes, A. minimus, A. mysticus, A. stuartii, A. subtropicus, A. swainsonii and A. vandycki

Antechinus have an extremely unusual reproductive system. The females are synchronously monoestrous with mating occurring over a short 3 week period. The males experience mass mortality after mating, with males surviving mating only observed in very rare cases. Females often mate twice and in some cases three times in their lives. The gestation period varies by species between 25 and 35 days. The offspring are independent after about 90-100 days, depending on the species. This development period is rather long compared with other, similar sized, marsupials.

All males in all 12 species of the marsupial mammal antechinus die after their first time successfully breeding, typically from stressing themselves out. The stress of the breeding season destroys their immune system, leading to liver infections and parasites of the blood and intestine. While some females live to breed for another season, all the males are sure to die because when attain maturity and starting mating they try to mate with as many females as they can, they continue mating continuously with different females up to 14 hours until they die.

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Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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