New study says there are 20 quadrillion ants on Earth
A new study published this week “conservatively” estimates that there are 20 quadrillion ants on planet Earth, or about 2.5 million ants for every person.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Hong Kong and the German University of Wuerzburg, who noted that ants are among the most successful and dominant life forms on earth, but found that most estimates of their numbers were missing and, essentially, educated. guesses.
In the study, published this week in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesthey explain that they compiled data on terrestrial and arboreal ants from 489 studies, covering “all continents, major biomes and habitats” to arrive at what they call a “conservative” estimate of 20 quadrillion ants, representing a biomass of 12 megatons.
Researchers say this is more than the combined biomass of wild birds and mammals and equals 20% of human biomass.
In a statement from the University of Hong Kong, the researchers explain that having an accurate count of the world’s ants and an understanding of their patterns of abundance can help preserve ecosystems and species around the world.
The study also revealed that ants are unevenly distributed over the global land surface. Generally, ants are more common in tropical regions, but their numbers vary from place to place depending on the ecosystem.
Sabine Nooten, a researcher at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, co-lead author of the study, said the ants perform “ecological services” such as breaking down organic matter and fighting pest control in any habitat they live in.
The study’s lead author, Benoit Guenard, a researcher at the University of Hong Kong, said the ant count reflects the paucity of data on so much of the natural world. He urged governments and societies to be more proactive in involving citizens to help close these knowledge gaps.
Some information for this report comes from Reuters.