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I think it's a shared connection.
In rails/activerecord/lib/active_record/base.rb, it says:
Connections are usually created through ActiveRecord::Base.establish_connection and retrieved by ActiveRecord::Base.connection. All classes inheriting from ActiveRecord::Base will use this connection. But you can also set a class-specific connection. For example, if Course is a ActiveRecord::Base, but resides in a different database you can just say Course.establish_connection and Course and all its subclasses will use this connection instead.
This feature is implemented by keeping a connection pool in ActiveRecord::Base that is a Hash indexed by the class. If a connection is requested, the retrieve_connection method will go up the class-hierarchy until a connection is found in the connection pool.