Beyond Survival and More



A group of research biologists at the Museum and Institute of Zoology in Warsaw, Poland, have recently discovered a family of ants that were trapped in a nuclear reactor. Now the existence of these ants is  very interesting . They have established their own unique colonies inside these bunkers.  Sunlight is most important for this breed of ants . Their colonies rarely survive for any considerable period in deep shaded, dense woodland . The bunker contained almost 10,000 of these species .  The reactor is a part of an abandoned Soviet nuclear base near Templewo in western Poland . What surprised the scientists is that , these ants survived in complete absence of food and light inside the bunker .

When the entomologists decided to take a closer look at this wonder , they discovered that this species had built an impressive nest in the terracotta floor of this bunker , right below a ventilation pipe . Now there’s no way the ants could get out of this place except they had new addition every time an ant fell from the chamber above . Litter in the floor occupied a graveyard for almost a two million of them which was about two centimeters thick . Researchers figured absolutely no signs of larvae or egg or pupae and also a ‘queenless’ colony . It’s very surprising as to how these species have created their own form of existence , and have established a separate colony for themselves despite being aloof from their own kind .

This colonial existence , despite the fact that there are previously known similar cases, such as a black garden ant colony that found a home in a chassis of an immobilised car, where the insects had built their nest from mud and dry plant remnants stuck to the underbody. Another wood ant colony is known to have lived in almost complete darkness within a cubic wooden box with no openings apart from a narrow slit at the bottom of one side. Yet, unlike the ants from the bunker, they have all had access to the outside world, having deliberately made their own choice to settle in such extraordinary location .

“This is kind of fascinating that such a huge non-productive nest could exist on its own, built solely from the ants that got trapped in the bunker,”

said Terry McGlynn, an entomologist at the California State University Dominguez Hills, who was not involved in the study.

This unique population was described in the open access Journal of Hymenoptera Research by the team led by Professor Wojciech Czechowski, from the Polish Academy of Science.

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