Very hairy marsupial in sex frenzy before dying
A NEW variety of a species of "very hairy" marsupial that dies after "frenzied mating" has been discovered.
Scientists in Australia have found a new black-tailed sub-species of antechinus, which is known to die from the stress of strenuous mating, with sessions lasting up to 14 hours.
It is thought the species is only found in high-altitude, wet areas in the Springbrook National Park between northern New South Wales and the Gold Coast Hinterland, the ABC reported.
The new creature has been described in the article published in the 'Zootaxa' journal as "striking", with a "very shaggy, very hairy" body and long guard hairs.
The discovery follows Australian research published last year that contradicted the previous view that the male antechinus dies to leave more food for its offspring.
Instead, scientists believe males die after mating because it causes them extreme stress, making them prone to infections caused by internal bleeding and the disintegration of their body tissue.
Dr Andrew Baker, from the Queensland University of Technology, described the new antechinus to ABC news.
"On the rump of the animal it becomes almost an orangey-brown colour, but where the tail emerges from the rump there is quite a distinct change from orange rump to black tail," said Dr Baker.
He added that the marsupials typically have a "frenzied mating period" when they are 11 months old and "all males will die before the young are born".