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In this paper we propose SPARE MAC, a TDMA based medium access control (MAC) scheme for data diffusion in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). The rationale behind SPARE MAC is to spare energy through limiting the impact of idle listening and traffic overhearing. To this extent, SPARE MAC implements a distributed scheduling solution which assigns to each sensor specific radio resources (i.e., time slots) for reception, summarized as reception schedules (RS), and spreads the information of the assigned RS to neighboring sensors. A transmitting sensor can consequently become active in correspondence of the RS of its intended receiver only. We analyze the performance of SPARE MAC in terms of throughput, power consumption, and data delivery delay both through analytical models and through detailed simulations. Moreover, we compare the performance of SPARE MAC against SMAC.