How Heavy Are All the Ants in the World?

Counting all the ants in the world is not practical. Luckily, scientists have been able to make an educated guess. There are approximately 13,000 species of ants on the planet. Some ants weigh just one milligram, while others weigh in at 60 milligrams.

The total mass of all the ants in the world is a whopping 12 megatons. It is more than the combined weight of all mammals and birds on earth. This is quite a feat, considering the average human weighs just over sixty pounds.

To make this estimate, researchers looked at four89 studies on ant numbers around the world. Some of these studies focused on the density of ants in different parts of the world. Other studies used standardised methods such as pitfall traps and leaf litter samples.

The researchers used a computer program to crunch the numbers. The resulting number was 20 quadrillion ants. This may seem like a lot, but it is actually a conservative estimate.

The new estimate is a good baseline for scientists to track ant populations as the world changes. They will also be able to determine whether the ant population is experiencing the same environmental changes that humans are.

In the past, scientists have largely focused on larger things. But there is a new breed of entomologists that have access to the tiniest of details. The new findings are the result of a study by scientists at the University of Hong Kong.