. . .Nearly 1 million “cannibal” ants have been found trapped in an abandoned Soviet-era bunker in Poland used to store nuclear weapons, according to a new study. The insane insects, which have been trapped “for years,” have resorted to eating the corpses of their dead brethren to survive. . .
“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,” the study’s abstract states.
The abstract added that the “imprisoned ants” used an “experimentally installed boardwalk” to get through the ventilation pipe to get to their nest on the top of the bunker.
Given the bunker’s location and the lack of available food sources, researchers concluded that the surviving ants had resorted to cannibalism to survive.
“It is known that wood ants consume dead bodies of their conspecifics left in masses on the ground during spectacular ‘ant wars’ early in the season,” the authors wrote in the study. “The function of such wars is to settle the borders of neighboring conspecific colonies, but the corpses also add substantially to the scarce food resources available when the colony lives commence after winter.” (Read more from “1 Million ‘Cannibal’ Ants Found Trapped in Soviet-Era Bunker” HERE)