He mates with as many females as he can, in violent, frenetic encounters that can each last up to 14 hours. A month ago, he irreversibly stopped making sperm, so he’s got all that he will ever have.This burst of speed-mating is his one chance to pass his genes on to the next generation, and he will die trying.
This storm is powerful and deadly."Hurricane Irma is currently being treated as one of the most devastating Atlantic Ocean hurricanes on record.
The cyclone has already caused heartbreaking damage and destruction across the Caribbean, reducing several islands to rubble.
Why do these marsupials practice suicidal reproduction, and why are they the only mammals that do so?
The question has vexed biologists for three decades, and many have offered answers.
The cyclone is approaching at a speed of 14 mph (30 km/h).
You should be able to watch Irma's approach over the weekend via the live stream above, which comes from a webcam mounted above Marathon, in the middle of Florida Keys.
The females were better at raising their young if they gave birth just before the annual bonanza, and were well-fed enough to wean their joeys.
Their mating seasons shortened and synchronised, collapsing into a tight window of time.
That probably wouldn’t have happened if they were placental mammals like shrews or mice, which could have produced several litters during the peak of food.
But they were marsupials: their babies are born at an incredible early stage and rely on their mothers’ milk for a long time.
The species with the most seasonal menus also had shorter breeding seasons, and their males were more likely to die after mating.