How Heavy is a Billion Ants?

Until recently, scientists believed that ants accounted for only 1% of the world’s insect population. But a new study has found that ants are more widely distributed in the world than previously thought. The study was conducted by scientists from Australia, Hong Kong, and Germany. The new findings will be important in assessing the effects of climate change on ant populations.

There are 13,000 species of ants on the planet. They range in size from one millimeter to thirty millimeters. Most ants have a stinger. But they help plants by aerating the soil and by cleaning up decaying matter. They also help water reach the roots of plants.

A pound of ants weighs about 1.5 million average-sized critters. The average human weighs about 62 kilograms. The neck muscles are used to lift objects up to 30 times their body weight.

In order to calculate the mass of ants, scientists took measurements of the dry weight of the ants. They found that the ants comprise twelve million tons of dry carbon. This is more than the combined mass of all wild mammals and birds.

The ant population is estimated to be 20 quadrillion. The figure is about twice as high as previous estimates. The researchers say the figure is conservative, however.

They used standardised methods to measure the ant population. Most studies focused on the underground. But they also studied the ants in the trees and on the ground. The results showed that the ants in human-inhabited areas were fewer than they expected.