Browsing by Subject "Formica polyctena"

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  • Rutkowski, Tomasz; Maak, Istvsn; Vepsäläinen, Kari; Trigos-Peral, Gema; Stephan, Wojciech; Wojtaszyn, Grzegorz; Czechowski, Wojciech (2019)
    Successful evacuation of a peculiar 'colony' of the wood ant Formica polyctena Forst., for years trapped within an old bunker previously used for storing nuclear weapons (see Czechowski et al. 2016), is reported. Using an experimentally installed boardwalk, the imprisoned ants managed to get through the ventilation pipe to their maternal nest on the top of the bunker. In our previous report, we left open the question of how the 'colony' could survive seemingly without food. Here we show that the 'colony' in the bunker survived and grew thanks to an influx of workers from the source nest above the bunker and mass consumption of corpses of the imprisoned nestmates.
  • Czechowski, Wojciech; Rutkowski, Tomasz; Stephan, Wojciech; Vepsäläinen, Kari (2016)
    A unique accumulation of workers ('colony') of the wood ant Formica polyctena Forst., trapped within an old bunker for storing nuclear weapons, is described. The source of the 'colony' is a large colony nesting outdoors, on top of the bunker. Individuals that have fallen down through a ventilation pipe are not able to find their way back to the mother nest. In total darkness, they have constructed an earthen mound, which they have maintained all-year-round by moulding it and keeping the nest entrances open. Judging from the huge deposits of wood-ant corpses in the bunker, the 'colony' has survived for years. Through these years, the mortality has been more than compensated by new workers that fall down during the active season of the free-living colony outside, and at present the number of the bunker workers is counted in hundreds of thousands. The 'colony' has evidently produced no offspring, which is due to low (though relatively stable) temperatures and scanty food in the bunker.