Ants trapped for years in an old bunker; survival by cannibalism and eventual escape

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Rutkowski , T , Maak , I , Vepsäläinen , K , Trigos-Peral , G , Stephan , W , Wojtaszyn , G & Czechowski , W 2019 , ' Ants trapped for years in an old bunker; survival by cannibalism and eventual escape ' , Journal of Hymenoptera Research , vol. 72 , pp. 177-184 . https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.72.38972

Title: Ants trapped for years in an old bunker; survival by cannibalism and eventual escape
Author: Rutkowski, Tomasz; Maak, Istvsn; Vepsäläinen, Kari; Trigos-Peral, Gema; Stephan, Wojciech; Wojtaszyn, Grzegorz; Czechowski, Wojciech
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Biosciences

Date: 2019-10-31
Language: eng
Number of pages: 8
Belongs to series: Journal of Hymenoptera Research
ISSN: 1070-9428
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.72.38972
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/309426
Abstract: 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.
Subject: Adaptability
Formica polyctena
marginal habitats
scarce food resources
wood ants
RED WOOD ANT
HYMENOPTERA
LIMITS
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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