So all sex  and no sleep, is making male qolls an unhealthy mammal! Yes, according to new Australian research, endangered male northern quolls are skipping sleep in favour of more sex, and this could be killing them. According to the study, they frequently forgo sleep as they travel great distances in pursuit of mated companions. Experts speculate that a lack of sleep may be to blame for the carnivorous marsupial males' tendency to mate themselves to death in a single breeding season. Contrarily, females can survive and procreate for up to four years. Jaws of Death: How the Canine Teeth of Carnivorous Mammals Evolved to Make Them Super-killers. 

The study was co-led by Senior lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Christofer Clemente organisation and The University of Queensland. On Groote Eylandt, an island off the coast of Australia's Northern Territory, researchers fitted backpacks with trackers to monitor wild roaming male and female northern quolls for 42 days.

According to the study, some of the quolls observed would travel more than 10 km (6.2 miles)—roughly 40 km in human distance—in a single night. The species' males also seemed to draw in more parasites. The most plausible explanation is that they spend less time grooming in order to maximise each reproductive season. "If male quolls forgo sleep to the detriment of their survival, northern quolls [will become] an excellent model species for the effects of sleep deprivation on body function," Mr Gaschk said to BBC.

According to researchers, males are less watchful than females when looking for food or avoiding predators. Further research is needed to determine how sleep deprivation affects quolls and other families of marsupial mammals found in Australia and Papua New Guinea, Mr. Gaschk stated. There are still about 100,000 northern quolls, but the population has been undergoing fast decrease, according to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. They are particularly susceptible to being poisoned by cane toads and face major threats from stray cat attacks and habitat loss brought on by development.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 04, 2023 11:07 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website