Thousands of ants trapped in Polish nuclear bunker turn to cannibalism for survival

In an abandoned nuclear bunker in western Poland, hundreds of thousands of worker ants that fell in and were cut off from the main colony survived for years by eating the bodies of their dead.

When researchers visited the bunker in 2016, they described a community of nearly a million worker ants of the species Formica polyctena, or carpenter ants. The main colony swarmed above ground on a knoll atop the bunker’s ventilation pipe; over the years, a steady stream of unfortunate ants fell through the pipe and into the bunker. Since the pipe opened into the room from the ceiling, once they landed on the floor, the ants were unable to climb out.

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