Researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia have found that the habit of red-tailed black cat males abandoning sleep and food to recklessly pursue every possible mating opportunity may be killing them. .
northern quoll (Dasyurus Hallucatus) are carnivorous, cat-sized marsupials native to northern Australia. The female can live and reproduce for up to four years, but the male rarely exceeds her single mating season. This reason has long puzzled researchers.
Now, according to new research, this post-breeding death, technically known as semerparity, was caused by males traveling long distances and skipping sleep to mate with as many females as possible. It has been suggested that it is possible.
“They travel long distances to mate as often as possible and seem to have a very strong urge to forget sleep in order to spend more time looking for females,” said co-author Animal Ecology. Dr. Christopher Clemente, UniSC Senior Lecturer in Physiology, said.
“Something has definitely taken a toll on their health in just one season, and I think it’s related to the lack of sleep.
“The dangers of sleep deprivation are well-documented in rodents, and many sleep-deprivation-related traits are present in male quolls but not in females.”
The team tracked the activity of wild male and female quolls with tracking backpacks on Groot Island, off the coast of Australia’s Northern Territory.
They found that men spent less time sleeping and resting and traveled longer distances than women.
“Two males, named Moimoi and Cayless, traveled 10.4 km and 9.4 km, respectively, in one night. The equivalent human distance based on average stride length would be about 35 to 40 km,” said the chief. says the researcher. Joshua Gashka PhD student at UniSC.
The team also found that after spending less time grooming and losing weight due to skipping meals, males became infected with parasites and their condition worsened.
Researchers now want to determine whether sleep deprivation is experienced in other marsupial mammals, such as opossums, marsupial mice, and Tasmanian devils.
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